The Pirates put together an 18-point comeback before losing the lead.
An impressive comeback gave the Braden River High football team a fourth quarter lead against Manatee High on Friday night, but the Pirates could not get a stop to hold onto it.
The result? A 28-23 home loss, but one that gave Coach Curt Bradley the belief that his team is close to getting over the top.
The Pirates (3-3) got on the board first with a field goal before giving up 21 straight points to the undefeated Hurricanes (5-0). Braden River failed to capitalize on two muffed punts thanks to an offense that looked out of sync. Bradley said the offense had opportunities for big plays and failed to properly execute.
The second half was a different story. Braden River outscored Manatee 20-7 in the half, with senior quarterback Shawqi Itriash twice finding senior wideout Gregory Cotton in the end zone on fourth and goal, and junior running back Lavontae Youmans adding a score on the ground. The Pirates took a 23-21 lead with 6:09 left in the game, but it was then that Manatee put together its lone scoring drive of the half, capping it with a touchdown run from senior Jabari Dunbar. Bradley said the Hurricanes did a good job of wearing down the Pirates' front seven, which was "a little gassed" at the end of the game.
Braden River had two more drives to reclaim the lead, but Youmans fumbled on the first drive and time ran out on the Pirates during the second, with a desperation throw from Itraish landing out of bounds on the game's final play.