EAST MANATEE -- A game that was riddled with sloppy play and disappointment for the Braden River Pirates became an afterthought as the final minutes waned and a Pirate player had to be carted off the field on a stretcher.
The somber moment put the game in perspective for the crowd, and while everyone's main concern is the health of the Pirate player, it did not change the final score: North Port 42, Braden River 0.
The lopsided score is representative of a game in which the Pirates were outhustled throughout. Braden River was not physically outmatched by a North Port team that relied heavily on their speedy backfield, but it was apparent that the Pirates have yet to master first-year coach Curt Bradley's philosophy. Penalties and a particularly rough night from the offensive line had Pirate quarterback Eric Schappacher struggling to find his receivers and a steady offensive rhythm resulting in 42 yards passing on the night. The Pirates' first offensive drive showed signs of life that had the home crowd picturing a win against a team that appeared collectively smaller, but a failed quarterback keeper on fourth down quickly ended the drive.
North Port responded quickly, showcasing their versatile quarterback Tenton White in a drive that would end with a 2 yard pass from White to his favorite target, Sylwester Augustyn, who hauled in 50 yards and two touchdowns worth of passes on the night.
The North Port defensive backs, who their head coach described as not only fundamentally sound, but also "athletic enough to make up for their mistakes" intercepted Schappacher three times in a standout performance that assured the lead would remain in the visiting team's hands. The Braden River defense was out schemed consistently as North Port ran screen pass after screen pass to fool an overly aggressive Pirate defensive line, eventually resulting in touchdowns of 8 and 65 yards to Leonard Faison. The North Port offense showed the ability to score almost at will by the end of the game, led by White's 156 yards passing and four touchdowns.
The most apparent difference between the two teams was not the coaching, however, but the hustle of the players on the field. On each of Braden River's kickoff returns the play would end with a group of white jerseys sprinting toward the returner while multiple Braden River players trailed them, completely eliminating the Pirate return game as a threat.
Coach Bradley said that it will take "the whole team improving, including the coaching staff" to achieve a more competitive result next Friday.
8:52- NP- T. White 2 yard pass to S. Augustyn
5:11- NP- T. White 8 yard pass to L. Faison
7:58- NP- T. White 65 yard pass to L. Faison
1:42- NP- R. Morales 25 yard run
9:19- NP- T. White 44 yard pass to S. Augustyn
D. Daniel 75 yard run
BR- E. Schappacher- 42 yards, 3 INT
NP- T. White- 156 yards, 4 TD
BR- E. Schappacher- 54 Yards, fumble
K. Harwick- 31 yards
C. Ford- 12 yards
NP- L. Faison- 8 yards
T. White- 42 yards
R. Saintard- 60 yards
R. Morales- 25 yards, TD
D. David-75, TD
BR- J. Haywood- 23 yards
D. Pittman- 10 yards
K. Anderson- 9 yards
NP- S. Augustyn- 50 yards, 2 TD
R. Morales- 23 yards
L. Faison- 73 yards, 2 TD