BRADEN RIVER — After two failed attempts to sneak the ball in from the 5 yard line with under 30 seconds to play, Braden River High sophomore quarterback Ryan Fischer didn’t know what to expect when he got the call a third time.
But during the huddle, the offensive line told Fischer to follow its lead. The rest would take care of itself. And as promised, the offensive line was able to overpower Booker’s defensive line, driving Fischer across the goal line.
Fischer’s game-winning 1-yard touchdown with 12.5 second remaining propelled Braden River to a 35-28 victory over the Tornadoes in Class 3A-District 10 action Oct. 30.
“I had no idea what was going to happen,” said Fischer, who took over the quarterbacking duties for Braden River two weeks ago after his older brother, Stephen, fractured his collarbone at Manatee, ending his senior season. “I was kind of nervous to do it the third time, but the offensive line said, ‘Just follow me.’ They made a triangle and I just went in the middle of it.”
With the win, the Pirates snapped a two-game losing streak, improving their record to 5-3 (2-1). More importantly, Braden River kept its playoff hopes alive.
“That’s a great storied program, and you’ve got to play four full quarters with them,” said coach Ed Volz. “Coach (Fred Gilmore) does a good job preparing his kids. We were able to get a stop when we needed to, and a drive when we needed to. And it’s something to build on.”
Braden River took an early 7-0 lead when Fischer connected with Michael Glover for a 28-yard touchdown with 9:01 remaining in the first quarter. The Pirates further extended their lead early in the second quarter on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Fischer to Casey Hunt.
Booker responded on its ensuing possession when quarterback Jamaine Leverett connected with Ricky Jones for a 30-yard touchdown.
Braden River added another touchdown late in the second quarter on a 13-yard run by Tevin Bryant, giving the Pirates a 21-7 halftime lead. Bryant added another touchdown on a 10-yard run up the middle to open the third quarter.
Booker responded on its ensuing possession on a 15-yard touchdown run by Leverett. Tornadoes running back Maurice Brooks scored a pair of touchdowns, including a 5-yard run to close out the third quarter and an 11-yard run to open the fourth quarter, as Booker scored 21 unanswered points to tie the game at 28-28.
“There are no bad deals when you’re trying to build a program because I promise you we’ll be in the same situation next week, the week after that and every week to come,” Volz said. “We’ve got to find ways to win and I think we did that tonight.”
With less than two minutes to play in the game, Braden River defensive back Chris Calloway blocked a Booker punt, which was recovered by linebacker Keith Grafton at the Booker 30 yard line. Seven plays later, Fischer found the end zone from a yard out for the go-ahead score.
“After that punt, I got fired up,” Fischer said. “I said, ‘We need to get the ball in the end zone to win this game. There is no turning it over or giving it up on three downs.’ I had to get the ball in the end zone.”
Bryant carried the ball 18 times for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Fischer completed 5-of-16 passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns. He also carried the ball 10 times for 43 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
The Pirates will close out their district season tomorrow night when they travel to Englewood Lemon Bay. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Manta Rays (3-5, 0-3) enter tomorrow night’s contest having come off a 45-0 shutout against Southeast. Braden River can clinch a spot in the postseason with a win and a Bayshore loss.
Contact Jen Blanco at
BR 7 14 7 7 — 35
B 0 7 14 7 — 28
BR — Michael Glover 28 pass from Ryan Fischer (Kadin Kerns kick), 9:01
BR — Casey Hunt 7 pass from Fischer (Kerns kick), 11:10
B — Ricky Jones 30 pass from Jamaine Leverett (Aldo Castro kick), 7:23
BR — Tevin Bryant 13 run (Kerns kick), 4:00
BR — Bryant 10 run (Kerns kick), 9:25
B — Leverett 15 run (kick good), 6:29
B — Maurice Brooks 5 run (kick good), 1:26
B — Brooks 11 run (kick good), 10:27
BR — Fischer 1 run (Kerns kick), 12.5
Rushing — Braden River: Bryant 18-120, Jaredd Pate 10-54, Fischer 10-43. Booker: Brooks 15-56, Lenard Rivers 5-20, Jeffery Calahan 2-19, Leverett 13-11, Jones 1-(minus 3), Dyquaris Williams 1-(minus 4), Keith Summerall 1-(minus 7).
Passing — Braden River: Fischer 5-16-81-0. Booker: Leverett 13-17-240-0.
Receiving — Braden River: Sharrod Neasman-Glover 3-46, Glover 1-28, Hunt 1-7. Booker: Jones 10-136, Deontae Brown 2-69, Wynton Parris 1-35