The Pirates couldn't get a stop when they needed it the most.
The streak is over.
After 25-consecutive regular season wins, Braden River (5-1) fell 42-35 to district rival Venice (6-0) on the road.
Venice running back Matthew "Speedy" Laroche torched the Pirates all night, finishing with 325 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Three of those scores came in the first half and forced Braden River to play catch up all night.
The Pirate offense was up to the task for a while. Down 14-0 early in the second quarter, Braden River put together a nice drive that culminated in a Deshaun Fenwick 4-yard touchdown scamper. Two and a half minutes later, the Pirates scored again, this time on a Louis Colosimo touchdown pass to Travis Tobey. The visiting fans chanted and stomped and high-fived. Pirates players were shoulder-bumping with a pep in their step that went missing earlier in the game.
On the ensuing Indians possession, Laroche broke an 88-yard touchdown run, and the rowdiness died.
The second-half was a true back-and-forth affair. The teams traded touchdowns with no interruption until the middle of the fourth quarter, when Braden River was finally forced to punt. The next Venice possession ended with yet another Laroche touchdown. The Indians lead was now 42-28 with 5:40 left in the game.
It still wasn't over.
Colosimo hit Fenwick for a 4-yard touchdown with 18 seconds left to bring the Pirates within a score. They needed to get the onside kick to have a prayer of winning, and they did. Braden River had one more chance to make magic happen.
Instead, Colosimo took a huge hit on the game's final play after scrambling around to bide time, never getting off a Hail Mary heave. Colosimo finished with 469 yards and four touchdowns.
Entering Friday's game, the Pirates had only allowed 28 points all season. Defensive end Taylor Upshaw said that Laroche's big runs were the result of "little mistakes" that can be corrected, and that the team will bounce back next week on the road against Palmetto.
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