MANATEE -- With momentum slipping away, Troy Keys turned the tide swiftly back to Bayshore, where it stayed the remainder of the Bruins homecoming game against Lakewood Ranch on Friday.
Keys' 54-yard interception return toward the end of the first half allowed Bayshore to score a touchdown, which enabled the Bruins to earn head coach Elijah Freeman's first victory since taking over the Bruins program before the season started.
Bayshore (1-2) dusted off the visiting Mustangs 35-13, but the key play came at a price. Keys was injured, and he will most likely miss next week's district opener against Southeast with a mild MCL sprain, Freeman said.
"What we've had is we might take a lead, then teams start crawling back in it and we've kind of relaxed a little bit and got a little bit nervous," Freeman said. "But that play, Troy Keys got hurt on that play. But it was a huge play. Got us right back in it. We go up 21-7 into the half and the guys are excited, rather than 14-14 and a little unsure of themselves."
The Bruins gouged Lakewood Ranch (1-2) for 250 rushing yards, and the tone was set on Bayshore's first offensive play that yielded a 55-yard gain on the ground from Dereck Williams.
Wiliams later tallied a 35-yard touchdown run, but he also left the game with an injury.
Freeman said his early prognosis is an ankle sprain, but he might return next week.
In addition to the bruising offensive display, the Bruins also aired it out when they needed to, and quarterback Wesley Jackson (two rushing touchdowns) delivered pivotal completions that extended drives.
That included connecting with Tyler Bond for a 4-yard touchdown with 0.7 seconds remaining in the first half to arm Bayshore with a 21-7 lead at the break.
However, the Bruins needed to show some resiliency after three times, with two coming right after another. First, it was Jackson throwing an interception, but his defense held tough to force a Lakewood Ranch punt.
The ensuing punt was muffed, allowing Ranch to retain possession in the fourth quarter trailing 28-13.
The Mustangs couldn't generate anything, and Bayshore tacked on another insurance score before running off the rest of the clock.
"One thing that is not unique around here is we've been turning it over," Freeman said. "So we've been learning to try to deal with those issues. If you turn the ball over, we've just got to make sure we go back out there and play football. And our defense is used to sudden change, and they've been doing a really good job of adjusting."
That adjustment was apparent on Friday as the Bruins intercepted Ranch quarterback Chad Rex three times, which was part of five total turnovers -- two turnovers on downs -- for the Mustangs.
"We made way too many mistakes to ever win a game," Ranch head coach Shawn Trent said.
Williams finished with nine carries for 116 rushing yards, while Karnell Oliver added five carries for 75 yards. Oliver's total came all in the second half.