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East County Thursday, Jun. 4, 2009 8 years ago

Pirates run away with spring game victory

by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

SARASOTA — Junior Tevin Bryant doesn’t like to brag about his accomplishments on the field.

In fact, the Braden River High running back is just the opposite. So while many players would boast about racking up nearly 200 yards in a little more than a half, Bryant would rather shy away from the limelight.

Such was the case after Braden River’s spring game May 28 when Bryant rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns to lead the visiting Pirates past Riverview 35-20. Afterward, Bryant had just three words to say about his performance — the offensive line.

“The line did really good — that’s all I can say,” Bryant said. “They prepared well, and they really stepped up.”

After losing three starters to graduation, Braden River spent much of the spring revamping its offensive line. Joining juniors Josh Spence and Caleb Parker, the Pirates started a freshman and a sophomore; and after a few early mistakes the offensive line gelled together, allowing Bryant and the rest of the Pirates rushing attack to pile up 253 yards on the ground.

“Offensively up front, we’re pretty young,” interim head coach Ed Volz said. “There’s not a lot of experience (there), and you saw some of the mistakes that came about. But once we got ourselves going, I thought we competed really well and played tough physical football.”

The Pirates entered their spring game with a simple game plan — play the first half like a regular football game, make any necessary second half adjustments and then turn the ball over to the non-starters to close the game.

Bryant entered his final spring game knowing he only had a half to show his coaches and teammates what he could do.

And Bryant did just that, making the most of his time on the field. Bryant found the end zone from a yard out late in the second quarter to give the Pirates a 7-0 advantage.

Bryant carried the ball seven times on Braden River’s opening possession of the second half, which he capped off with a 9-yard touchdown before turning the ball over to his teammates.

“Tevin’s a horse and he’s the kind of kid that will make a lot of mistakes positive,” Volz said. “He’s a big physical back. He’s hardworking, and he’s just a piece to a big puzzle.”

Bryant’s physical toughness and Braden River’s overall playmaking ability and solid defensive effort proved to be too much for the Rams. While the Pirates began rotating their second and third string players into the game, the Rams chose to keep their starters on the field — and continued to do so for the remainder of the game.

Braden River put up 21 points in the second half, including a 29-yard touchdown pass from Stephen Fischer to Sharrod Neasman and a 2-yard touchdown run by backup running back Jarrod Pate, while the Pirates first-team defense held the Rams to just six points in the first half.

“We’re a swarming defense,” linebacker Trevor Barnes said. “We don’t like to give anything away, so we came out ready to go, and we just wanted to put them down and win.

“We had a lot of energy and that’s what we’re about,” he added. “The way I see it is if the defense is going then the offense is going to get going no matter what, and I think we did an exceptional job.”

Also visit our Photo Gallery and Statistics from Braden River's spring game.

Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].

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