Prep football | Braden River blanks Cardinal Mooney in spring game

Special to the HeraldMay 23, 2014 

EAST MANATEE -- Thursday night's spring football game between Cardinal Mooney and host Braden River was all defense from start to finish.

The only score came when Pirates quarterback Jacob Huesman hit Travis Williams on a seam pass that went 33 yards for a touchdown.

Huesman and Williams connected moments later for the 2-point conversion, giving Braden River an 8-0 lead with 6 minutes, 17 seconds left in the second quarter.

Reese Vita took a quarterback keeper for a 30-yard gain on the following drive to put his Cougars in position to score.

After a Jaz Mongeon run that ended up in a loss, Vita found Jake Santiago for a 20-yard gain on third down and goal from the 18.

A few plays later on fourth and goal, Vita rolled out to the left and hit Canaan Ellingsworth for a 3-yard dump-off pass, but it was just short of the end zone.

"Our guys played well. Just wish we could have put a few points up on the board," Cougars head coach Josh Smithers said.

With 1:23 left in the half, Huesman committed one of the Pirates' three fumbles, giving it back to Mooney at the Braden River 11-yard line.

However, the Cougars were unable to capitalize, losing yards on consecutive runs and giving up a sack to end the half.

"We didn't take care of the ball tonight, but luckily our defense was able to make plays and keep them off the board," Pirates head coach Curt Bradley said.

Carlos Crawford came out with a head of steam to start the third quarter for Braden River.

The junior gained 14 yards on consecutive plays, breaking tackles and leaving Cougars defenders on their backs.

The Pirates' offense was moving well until Jaylin Austin coughed the ball up at the Mooney 10-yard line, giving the Cougars some life.

But once again Cardinal Mooney couldn't capitalize off the turnovers and score.

"Some of it had to do with nerves. It's not an excuse, but these guys are young and it was a learning experience," Coach Bradley said.

Jake Lafemina set up for a 22-yard field goal for the Cougars in the fourth quarter, but the snap was muffed and recovered by the Pirates.

Vita would get one last shot with under two minutes left, but he overthrew his receiver on fourth down, giving the ball and the game to Braden River.

"My guys played well tonight against a team that beat us pretty good in last year's spring game," coach Bradley said.

Both teams have a lot to work on, but that's what spring football is all about.

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