EAST MANATEE -- Sometimes the smallest things can lead to the biggest heartache.
Braden River learned that painful lesson Friday when it dropped a 20-18 decision to visiting Booker. The Pirates (2-2) had problems with Booker's Marlon Mack, who ran for 251 yards and two touchdowns on only 19 carries.
But Braden River could've survived that one-man onslaught and might have won if it wasn't for blocked try on an extra point and a failed two-point conversion.
The second one was crucial.
Trailing 20-6, the Pirates scored on a 12-yard pass from Jake Huesman to Justin Ross in the early fourth quarter, but the extra-point attempt was blocked.
Braden River came back again on an 8-yard pass from Huesman to Marcus Balliette with 1:04 left in the game. The Pirates were forced to go for two and Huesman was stopped on a run.
"You tell the kids all week in practice how important one point is and you miss two extra points and there you have it," Braden River head coach Curt Bradley said. "It's my fault. We weren't ready to play from the first snap on and I did a bad job coaching this week."
Braden River opened the game on a nine-play, 80-yard drive that ended on a 4-yard touchdown run by Titus Humphrey. There was a bad snap on the extra point attempt, and the Pirates never got to kick.
Booker (3-1) immediately answered. On the Tornadoes' first play from scrimmage, Mack broke loose for an 80-yard touchdown.
After Booker stopped Braden River, Mack scampered for a 41-yard touchdown run and the Tornadoes added the extra point to take a 13-6 lead at halftime.
"He is a great runner, but we didn't make tackles and like I said, we were not ready to play and I will take that as a head coach," Bradley said. "There are no excuses. We are never good enough to line up and think we can just walk out here and beat somebody. Booker is a good team and hats off to them."
Booker took the second-half kickoff and went 65 yards for a touchdown with Artie Henry catching a 21-yard scoring strike from Jeremiah Henderson for a 20-6 lead less than four minutes into the third quarter.
Humphrey helped set up the Pirates second touchdown when he carried the ball four times for 21 yards in a six-play, 33-yard drive that was set up by a short punt and ended on a one-handed catch by Ross in the end zone.
Humphrey finished the night with 136 yards on 28 carries. Ross was the top receiver for the Pirates, catching seven passes for 95 yards.
Booker defensive lineman Ladarius Bowman, who stands only 5-foot-8, blocked Braden River's extra point.
"He came from right up the middle," Booker head coach Johnnie Jones said. "His motor was going and he got leverage and the ball hit him right in the mid-section. We tell the kids the team with the least amount of mistakes is going to win the ball game and that's what happened (Friday)."
Huesman and Dusty Peebles shared the quarterback duties for Braden River. Huesman completed eight of 13 passes for 87 yards and Peebles was four for 15 for 57 yards. Both threw an interception.