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Having already established himself as one of the state's elite junior football recruits as a receiver, Tray Curry proved Thursday he might also be one of the most versatile prospects.
When Bradley Central starting running back Ricky McCleary limped to the sideline with an ankle injury in the second quarter, the 6-foot-4, 192-pound Curry moved into the backfield and not only filled the void but gave his team the spark needed to rally past Soddy-Daisy for a 49-35 nonregion road win.
Curry ran for 146 of his 167 yards in the deciding second half, and the last of his three touchdowns covered 61 yards to put the game away.
"The line really did the work to open the holes for me, and I was able to hit them to pick up good yardage," said Curry, who had just one catch for 12 yards before moving to running back midway through the second quarter. "We changed a few things at halftime, but really it was just listening to our coaches and staying on task to make some plays."
Soddy-Daisy (5-4) jumped out to an early 14-0 lead before the Bears (7-2) finally scored when Trentavious Roberts recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone to cut the deficit in half. However, the Trojans went right back on the attack and looked to be in control after consecutive touchdown passes from Isaac Barnes gave them a 28-7 lead with 8:04 remaining in the first half.
Trojans senior Hayden Maynor, who rarely comes off the field on either side of the ball, finished with 178 rushing yards and three touchdown runs and also had a scoring reception.
Similar to their game earlier this season against rival Cleveland, when also they fell behind by 21 points but rallied for the win, the Bears never flinched. Curry scored on runs of 10 and 5 yards on back-to-back possessions to bring Bradley within 28-21 at halftime, and the Bears opened the third quarter with an 11-play, 72-yard scoring drive capped by quarterback Javin Burke's 1-yard scoring sneak — one of three touchdown dives for the junior — to tie the game.
After the Trojans countered with a 97-yard scoring drive to retake the lead, the teams traded turnovers before Bradley struck for a 75-yard touchdown pass from Burke to Kannon Hall to tie the game once again.
Tucker Thompson's interception gave Bradley the ball back, setting up another 11-play drive capped by a 1-yard dive from Burke to give his team its first lead.
The Bears, ranked No. 9 in the latest Class 6A state poll, held Soddy-Daisy on downs, and two plays later Curry broke free for the win-clinching 61-yard sprint.
"As long as the ball is in his hand, good things usually happen," Bears coach Damon Floyd said of Curry. "He can be dynamic, and he really took over. That's why he's getting recruited the way he is by so many schools out there.
"I'm happy with the way our kids kept battling and found a way to get it done in the end. I think our depth wound up being a huge advantage. They looked like they were about to put the game away early and really took it to us. They have a lot of guys who have to go both ways and we two-platoon, so I think we wore on them a little."