— Bruton High football coach Tracy Harrod encouraged his team to make a statement just prior to kickoff Friday night during the Group 2A East playoffs.
Kapri Doucet and the rest of his teammates responded in a big way, posting a 48-10 victory in the first round of the regional playoffs.
The Panthers' offense struck early and often, scoring on its first four possessions en route to its first playoff victory since 2009.
Bruton (8-3) scored less than a minute into the contest. QB Bilal Wallace hooked up with Austin Gardner on a 37-yard catch-and-run to set up first and goal from the 5-yard line. Two plays later, Doucet scored from 1-yard out. Zach Uvodich converted the extra point and the Panthers led 7-0 with 11:22 left.
After a strong defensive stand, Bruton's hurry-up offense struck again. The Panthers drove 70 yards on 10 plays, capped by an 11-yard TD run by Doucet.
Later in the quarter, Wallace dove into the end zone on an 11-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion failed as the Panthers led 19-0 after one quarter.
The second quarter was more of the same. Doucet scored his third touchdown of the half, this time from 6 yards out. Elijah Rice converted the two-point play to stretch the lead to 27-0 with 7:55 left.
Bruton's defense got into the act as Richard Taylor picked up a fumble and rumbled 45 yards for a touchdown. Rice scored on a two-point conversion as the Panthers led 35-0 with 4:52 left.
Doucet capped the quarter with his fourth touchdown of the game, scoring from 13 yards out to give Bruton a 41-0 halftime lead.
Nandua (6-5) showed some life in the second half, executing on a couple of big plays. David Wright booted a 35-yard field goal with 49 seconds left in the third quarter to break up the shutout.
In the fourth, QB Tyreim Blake hit Wright on a 39-yard touchdown pass to trim the lead to 41-10 with 6:00 left in the game.
The Warriors recovered the ensuing onside kick and tried to make a game of it. Bruton's defense responded as Gardner picked off a Blake pass and returned it to the Nandua 6-yard line. Two plays later, backup quarterback Greg Dockery scored from a yard out to cap the scoring.
Doucet led Bruton with 132 yards on the ground and four touchdowns.
The Panthers will face the winner of Saturday's Riverheads-Arcadia game in next week's regional quarterfinal.
BRUTON 48, NANDUA 10
Bru: Doucet 1 run (Uvodich kick) 11:22
Bru: Doucet 11 run (kick failed) 4:52
Bru: Wallace 11 run (run failed) 0:07
Bru: Doucet 6 run (Rice run) 7:55
Bru: Taylor 45 fumble recovery (Rice run) 6:20
Bru: Doucet 13 run (kick failed) 2:24,.
Nan: Wright 35 FG, 0:49
Nan: Blake 39 pass to Wright (Wright kick) 6:00.
Bru: Dockery 1 run (Uvodich kick) 1:04.
Harvey can be reached at 757-345-2352