Though the Sarasota Sailors made the first touchdown of the game halfway through the first quarter, they were not able to hold off the Braden River Pirates for very long.
The visiting Pirates scored in the final two minutes of regulation to edge past the Sailors 30-27 in Class 7A-District 10 action Oct. 4.
The Pirates quickly responded to the Sailors touchdown with one of their own. Junior quarterback Dusty Peebles made a pass to Marcus Balliette, who ran the ball 65 yards, scoring the first touchdown for the Pirates.
Senior Austin Myara’s kick was good, giving the Pirates the extra point and tying the game 7-7. With 47 seconds left in the first quarter, Myara kicked a field goal, putting the Pirates ahead 10-7.
With 5 minutes, 30 seconds left in the second quarter, Peebles threw a pass to senior Andre Mays, who ran the ball 32 yards into the end zone. Myara’ kick was blocked by Sarasota, leaving the score 16-7 Pirates.
Just minutes later, Peebles passed the ball off to senior Titus Humphrey, who ran the scored from 3 yards out, putting another six points on the board for the Pirates. Myara’s kick was good, making the score 23-7 at the half.
In the third quarter, Sarasota responded with a field goal and a touchdown of its own. These plays began to close the gap between the teams, with Braden River having a close lead of 23-17 over the Sailors.
With 4:03 left in the fourth, the Sailors recorded a safety after senior Justin Rawlings was tackled in the end zone, adding two more points to their score, which stood 23-19.
The Pirates had another quick response as the Sailors crept closer. Peebles threw his last touchdown pass of the night again to Mays, who ran the ball 26 yards, scoring the final touchdown of the night for the Pirates. Again, Myara’s kick was good, widening the gap between the teams to 30-19.
In the final minutes of the game, the Sailors successfully made a touchdown and kick, which put them just four points behind, 30-25. This was the final attempt for the Sailors to surpass the Pirates. The competition ended with a Pirate win with a score of 30-27.
This game was the third win of the season for the Pirates who are currently 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the district. Second year coach Curt Bradley was very satisfied with the outcome, as the boys played to win, despite two consecutive losses.
“A win is a win regardless of what happened the previous week. It always feels great to get a win, especially in the district,” Bradley commented. “We are 1-1 in the district and we came back with a big win. The kids played hard and got an early lead, let it slip away late, but we came back and got the win in the second half.”
Next week, Braden River will host the Bayshore Bruins in their Homecoming game. Bradley is doing everything that he can to ensure that the boys are ready to play their best game come Friday night.
“Homecoming is a very distraction filled week and we have to limit the distractions,” Bradley explained. “We have to get back out there and get back to what we do best, which is practice hard and make plays.”