Braden River gave Palmetto all it could handle, but it was not enough.
For the second week in a row, Braden River High held a lead in the fourth quarter as an underdog.
For the second week in a row, Braden River blew the lead. This time, it ended their season.
The Pirates (4-7) led Palmetto High (10-1) 21-10 in the final quarter of the teams' first-round playoff matchup. But a scramble into the end zone by Palmetto quarterback Xavier Williams put the Tigers in a position to strike. A few minutes later, Williams threw an 85-yard touchdown to LaJohntay Wester to make it 24-21. That is how the game would end.
Braden River's early lead could have been even larger. The Pirates scored on a wide-receiver pass, from junior Shawqi Itraish to senior wideout Robbie Goecker to junior tight end Carson Goda, on its first possession, than followed that with a drive capped by Lavontae Youmans' 2-yard touchdown run. The Pirates then recovered a Williams fumble, but could not capitalize on the opportunity. The defense also dropped a surefire pick six in the first quarter. Hitting on either one of these two opportunities may have given the game a different outcome.
After the game, Pirates coach Curt Bradley said he was proud of his whole team's effort, but was upset that he could not help the senior class reach the heights it wanted to before graduation.