EAST MANATEE -- Throughout preseason camp, Braden River head football coach Curt Bradley kept raving about how Kelvin Albritton could be a difference maker.
The senior defensive end proved his coach right when he recovered three fumbles to spark host Braden River to a 20-12 victory over Booker Friday night in a preseason Kickoff Classic.
"It has the first time I had ever done something like that. It feels good, but the main thing is that it helped the team," Albritton said. "Trevon Young helped me out on the first one. I saw the ball on the ground, tried to grab it, managed to do it. It feels great because I got the turnovers for the team, and that is all I really care about."
Albritton's first recovery set up Braden River's initial score of the game. He got the ball on the Booker 25 and two plays later, Eric Schappacher threw a 20-yard scoring strike to Dylan Lee.
Sarasota High transfer Marlon Mack scored from eight yards out for Booker early in the second quarter, but the Pirates blocked the extra point attempt.
On Booker's next possession, Albritton picked up a fumble and returned it 25 yards to the Booker 40. The Pirates then went on an 11 play drive that ended on a three yard run by Darius Jones. They missed the extra point.
"I can't remember the last time I ran in the ball in a game and it felt great. I always wanted to do it and I finally got my chance. I never did it in high school," Albritton said. "I am really proud of how our guys played. We will get better because we have big game next week against Lakewood Ranch."
Mack scored on a nine yard run with 10:09 left in the game to cut Booker's deficit to 13-12, but a bad snap foiled the extra point attempt.
Braden River then went on a methodical 14 play, 52 yard drive to account for the final score. In the process, the Pirates may have found a tough ball carrier in Krey Harwick. The junior had 33 yards on five tough carries through the heart of the Booker defense.
A key play in the drive came on fourth and 7 from the 22 when Schappacher ran for eight yards and a first down. On third down he hit Lee with a seven yard pass and on the next play the senior quarterback ran it in from a yard out with 3:37 left.
Austin Rain, slated to be the Pirates top rusher, did not play because of nagging injuries according to Bradley. Darius Jones played most of the first half picking up 23 yards on 11 carries. Schappacher rushed for 34 yards on eight carries and completed six of 17 passes for 116 yards.
Lee caught three passes for 55 yards and Zac D'Urso hauled in two passes for 53 yards. Justin Ross had an interception at the end of the first half for Braden River.
The Braden River defense kept Booker quarterback Alex Riddle in check most of the night. The Tornadoes hurt themselves with five fumbles, including the three that they lost.
"I am most pleased that the kids competed hard. They got after it and played hard up front," Bradley said. "There are some things I am not happy about, but what coach is totally happy after a game. We had good fan support. Kelvin did ajob. When you fly around the football good things usually happen. He is one of those kids who always gives maximum effort."