EAST MANATEE -- Curt Bradley knows a thief when he sees one. The Braden River head football coach just can't tell which one is better at his craft because he has so many.
They all got into the act against visiting Leesburg Friday night, when the Pirates intercepted a school record six passes and returned two for touchdowns in a 48-14 rout.
The six picks give Braden River 16 interceptions in five games, all victories.
Ronnie McClellan started the spree when he picked off a pass from Leesburg quarterback Wyatt Rector and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown with less than two minutes left in the first half to give the Pirates 27-7 lead.
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McClellan picked off another pass in the third quarter. Demetrius Lawson added two interceptions to give him a team-leading five on the season.,
Jo Jo Louis got his second interception of the season and Tyrone Collins returned a pick 50 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"We got a thing going with those interceptions. We are the land sharks. We like to get after the ball and fly around. We got a great defense," said McClellan who came into the game tied for the team lead with 24 tackles, but no interceptions.
Collins had two interceptions coming into the game, but got the first pick six of his career when he took one 50 yards to the house for a 41-7 lead with 5:12 left in the game.
"I just saw the quarterback back up and throw it to his guy and made a play on the ball," Collins said. "I love our defense. They fly around and go after the ball. We just like playing football and came out here and worked hard."
The Pirates didn't just control the airways, they dominated Leesburg (2-3) in every facet of the game. Braden River held the Jackets to 167 yards of offense with more than half of that coming against backup defenders in the fourth quarter.
Perhaps lost in the array of defensive heroics, quarterback Jacob Huesman turned in his best game of the season completing 16-of-24 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns. It was needed because Leesburg shut down the Pirates' run game to the just of just 51 yards on the ground.
"Leesburg did a great job against the run tonight, but it left them vulnerable to the rest of the offense taking advantage through the air," Bradley said. "This was the best game in the passing we've had this year. Jacob is what we need him to be. He is an awesome quarterback. He got the ball to our playmakers and it was great to see. We haven't had that breakout game in the passing game until tonight and that was good for us."
Seven different receivers caught passes for Braden River in what Huesman calls his community passing game.
He threw touchdown passes of eight yards to Dexter Hodo, 43 yards to Raymond Thomas and 39 yards to Travis Williams.
"We do spread the ball a lot. We give different opportunities to different guys to make plays and this is the kind of community pass game we run," Huesman said. "It's good for them. They all played fabulous. There weren't many dropped balls so props to them. Our defense flies to the ball and our secondary is amazing this year.I love playing against our ones (on defense)."
Despite the lopsided victory, Bradley said his team has a lot of things work on.
"We set a record for our crowd last week and you read the paper (about) how great we are and people around the school are telling you how great you are and next thing you know it's Monday and it's like crickets are out there and the intensity is not there (in practice)," Bradley said. "We need to work on the mental stuff and have better practices and more intensity.
"Against some of the district teams coming up we can't afford those mental mistakes."