In high school football, district games are the measure of a team’s success. So when the two-time reigning champion Southeast Seminoles came to Pirate Stadium, there was bound to be tension on the field.
For the past two years, Southeast has been the dominant team in Class 3A District 10, but Braden River hasn’t been far behind. Both years, Southeast has won the district title, with Braden River coming in second. Braden River (2-4, 1-1) headed into their second district game of the season with the mindset to win, but Southeast (3-2, 1-0) was determined to beat the Pirates for the third year in a row. Not only did Southeast win their first district contest of the season, they shut out the rival Pirates 31-0.
On the first play of the game, the Seminoles’ Boe Brand scored on an 80-yard touchdown pass, setting the tone of the game.
“That’s (mentality) what we’ve been working on since the beginning of the season,” Braden River coach Don Purvis said. “Just how do these guys respond and react when something goes wrong.
“We have done that very well the last two weeks,” he said. “We got down against Bayshore early, and we had some bad things happen at Desoto. … We bounced back early so we thought we were getting better at that. I think that them scoring on the first play of the game … it seemed to take a lot of wind out of these guys, and that’s something we have to work on.”
Dustin Clark’s 43-yard field goal late in the first quarter extended the Seminoles’ lead to 10. Then, before the half could end, Southeast scored two more times, entering halftime with a 24-0 lead. The Seminoles scored their final touchdown of the game in the third quarter on a 1-yard run.
“We knew we were about to play an outstanding football team,” Purvis said. “They’re a very talented and very good team, and the goal this whole time was to come out fast and not let them get on us early. And that’s exactly what happened. They got on us early and kind of took us out of our game before we were ready.”
Braden River quarterback Ryan Fischer completed just one of his six attempted passes and was picked off by the Southeast defense.
“I’d say it (downfall) really happened up front, offensively and defensively,” Purvis said. “If you cannot control the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball, you can’t win.”
The Pirates return to action at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 15, against Manatee.
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