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East County Wednesday, Sep. 7, 2016 5 years ago

Hit or Miss: Jen Blanco

Pirates rush to save woman from sinking
by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

The Braden River High School football players were at their best, and they didn't even have a game.

As wind and rain from Hermine pelted Bradenton Aug. 31, Pirates players were making their way home that evening with practice cancelled. Among them were Devontay Seabrooks, Demetrius Lawson and Paul Wiggins, who were driving home with Lawson’s father when they came across a van stuck in flood waters on 17th Avenue in Bradenton. 

The van, driven by Palmetto resident Pat McClain, was trying to make its way to the 1700 block of 18th Street West. 

McClain had seen another vehicle maneuver through the water on the street and she thought it was safe. However, her attempt was futile as water began to engulf the van.

She frantically calling her husband, John Marks, who was still in Palmetto, and wasn't close enough to help.

As she got off the phone, Seabrooks, Lawson and Wiggins, along with Lawson’s father, came wading out and asked if they could push McClain’s van onto dry land. They helped McClain and her elderly passenger to safety before heading back to their vehicle to continue their drive home. 

While McClain didn’t get the players’ names at the time, she did learn they played football for Braden River. The following day, she sent an email to Braden River coach Curt Bradley expressing her gratitude. 

“I wanted to take the time to thank three of your football players on the wonderful act of kindness they showed myself and the older lady I was taking home yesterday. … I was so grateful for their act of kindness and selflessness. I about cried.

"After they got us to a safer location, I tried to pay them for their help. They all refused much to my surprise! I would very much like to send a token of my appreciation for the good works these men did for me. I would be very happy to support and congratulate these fine young men on doing a good deed. I believe that there is still good in this world, and it needs to be supported and encouraged.

"Again, thank you for your part in showing these men that good and kind acts are always the way to always be. Best wishes for a wonderful season.” 

Kudos to these three players for being in the right place at the right time and making this lady’s day a little brighter. 


After an unexpected week off, the Braden River and Lakewood Ranch football teams finally returned to practice Sept. 5. 

Both the Pirates and Mustangs were unable to practice Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 due to cancelations and school closures as a result of Hurricane Hermine. With Manatee County Schools canceled Sept. 2, Braden River's and Lakewood Ranch’s football games were also canceled. 

The Pirates and Mustangs are hoping all goes according to plan this week. Braden River is set to host Cape Coral Ida Baker Sept. 9 while Lakewood Ranch will travel to Riverview. The Mustangs hosted the Rams in their Preseason Kickoff Classic Aug. 19 with Riverview walking away with a 20-7 victory in which the varsity squads only played the first half. 

The Out-of-Door Academy was the lone East County area football team to hit the gridiron last week, as the Thunder took to the field Sept. 3. 

While it wasn’t the traditional Friday Night Lights, as the game was postponed due to poor field conditions and the effects of Hurricane Hermine, ODA might not be adverse to playing another day game in the future. 

Following its season-opening loss to Zephyrhills Christian Academy, ODA handled St. Petersburg Keswick Christian with ease, as the Thunder posted a 40-12 victory in its inaugural Sunshine State Athletic Conference game. 

Running back Jason Fineberg scored on runs of nine and two yards while quarterback Gus Mahler also accounted for two touchdowns. Freshman lineman Ryan Ives recovered a pair of fumbles for ODA, which held the Crusaders to 100 yards of total offense. 

ODA will look to follow up its win with another win at home Sept. 9 when the Thunder hosts Jordan Christian Prep at 7 p.m.

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