Prep football | Braden River makes clutch plays in 30-27 victory over Sarasota

Special to the HeraldOctober 5, 2013 

SARASOTA -- Momentum always plays a factor in the outcome of games.

Friday night's game was no different.

The Braden River Pirates held off a second-half surge from the Sarasota Sailors to get a 30-27 district win.

"This was an important game for our guys," Braden River head coach Curt Bradley said.

The Pirates found themselves down 7-0 after Sarasota's Caulin McNeal hit Dylan Cleveland for a 20-yard touchdown pass.

However, that would be the only passing touchdown the Pirates would allow all night.

"We told our guys to keep their composure and move on the the next play," coach Bradley said.

Braden River went on to score 23 unanswered points and took a commanding 23-7 lead with 3:05 left in the second quarter.

The Pirates defense held McNeal to 3-10 throwing in the first half.

Sailors halfback Justin Austin carried the load for his squad. Austin finished the game with 202 yards on 42 carries.

"We have to be a more balanced offense," Sarasota head coach Ed Volz said. "We need to get Shawn Bane more touches, his injury limited him tonight."

Bane, the Sailors' main weapon at wideout, was limited to one catch for 27 yards with an ankle injury.

In the third quarter, the Pirates took a shot down the field on third and long. The pass was incomplete but pass interference was called on Sailors cornerback Julius Gonzalaz.

The call didn't sit well with the Sarasota coaching staff. Following the call a flag was thrown for unsportsmanlike conduct against the Sailors.

The penalty put the Pirates on the Sarasota 20. The Sailors were able to force a three and out.

Moments later, Sarasota blocked a Pirates punt, giving the Sailors great field position.

In the fourth quarter, holding on to a 23-17 lead, Braden River was able to force an Austin fumble at midfield with 3:57 left in the game.

"He played a great gam,e and we aren't going to focus on that one play," coach Volz said.

The turnover led to a Dustin Peebles 21-yard touchdown pass to Andre Mays to ice the game for the Pirates.

Peebles finished the game with three touchdown passes and no interceptions for Braden River.

The Pirates are 3-2 on the season and 1-1 in district play.

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