Intensity is a key component while playing the game of football.
Last Friday night, the Pirate football team defined it.
The Pirates (2-3; 1-0), traveled to Desoto Arcadia Oct. 1 to take on the Bulldogs, who beat Braden River in their first playoff run two years ago. Last season, the Pirates beat the Bulldogs 34-13 for Braden River’s homecoming game. Now 2-1 in their history with Desoto, Braden River shut out the Bulldogs 27-0.
The first score of the game came late in the first when quarterback Ryan Fischer ran the ball for 14 yards for a touchdown. And thus began the Pirates’ most dominating display so far this year.
The biggest and most motivational play of the game came late in the second when kicker Kadin Kerns kicked a 54-yard field goal to send the Pirates into halftime with a 10-0 lead.
“We showed some good things,” said coach Don Purvis. “We got a lot of things done. We ran the ball well, but then also we had a two-minute drive of passing to get us down to kick a field goal 54 yards. We did a lot of different things tonight, and we did them well, and I’m real proud of them.”
A Javar Baity 15-yard touchdown late in the third, paired with another field goal from Kerns earlier in the quarter, sent the Pirates into the final 12 minutes of the game with a 20-0 lead. The Pirates’ longest run came from Oladipo Kolawole, who rumbled for a 50-yard touchdown with 8:48 left in the fourth.
Baity, also a basketball player, returned to play football after two years away from the game. He rushed for 102 yards on 11 carries during the game.
“It’s exciting — definitely different than shooting into a basketball hoop,” he said.
The Pirate defense covered every side of the ball and reacted during every play. On the Bulldogs’ second play of the game, Pirate tackle Chase Winkler went after Desoto running back Antonio Washington and stuck him at the line of scrimmage. Later in the game, Winkler added a sack and another tackle on Washington at the line.
“The way the defense played was outstanding again,” Purvis said. “To come on the road against a good opponent who runs the ball real well and shut them down like that. … I just can’t say enough: great coaching by the defensive coaches and great playing by a bunch of guys on the field.”
“We practice hard all week,” he said. “Our defense came together as a whole, and teamwork intercepted those passes.”
Winkler wasn’t the only Pirate to control the Bulldogs offensive game. Junior Nathan Kirkman tipped a Bulldog pass into the arms of linebacker Keith Grafton, but the pick was taken back after the play because of a penalty on the Pirates.
“Everybody’s doing their job,” Grafton said. “I give all the credit to Kirkman. He tipped, and I just happened to be there. He did all the work; I just got lucky on that one.”
Purvis said he and the Pirates will enjoy their first shutout together.
“It’s fun,” he said. “I’m real proud of the guys the way they’re playing, their attitudes.
“The thing I’m really excited about is we know the next couple of games — two of our next three games are district games, Southeast, Manatee, then we have a break then Booker,” he said. “So to get some momentum going into those games and starting to kind of figure things out before we play those guys is a big deal.”
The Pirates will take on the reigning district champion Southeast Seminoles at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 8, at Pirate Stadium.
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