New uniforms, same dominating brand of Braden River High School football.
Sporting new black jerseys and black pants with their traditional white helmets, the Pirates built a 42-0 lead in the first 22 minutes, 10 seconds and claimed their 23rd consecutive regular-season victory with a 42-14 triumph over visiting Ida Baker on Friday night.
Junior DeShaun Fenwick scored on touchdown runs of 39 and 38 yards in the first quarter before adding a 65-yard scoring reception from Louis Colosimo in the second quarter. Raymond Thomas ran for a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, including an 83-yarder, and went into halftime with 191 yards on 14 carries.
“You should headline this: ‘Raymond Thomas: the most electrifying player in Manatee County,” said Fenwick, whose six carries for 150 yards came in the first half.
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Thomas backed up an earlier assessment by Fenwick that the Pirates’ backfield is of the thunder-and-lightning variety.
“(Fenwick) is my boy,” Thomas said. “He’s the powerful one, the stronger one. I describe as a power back.”
Along with Braden River head coach Curt Bradley, Fenwick and Thomas were more than complimentary when it came to describing the play of the Pirates’ offensive line.
“The offensive line was great,” Thomas said. “They were opening up holes and we couldn’t ask for a better offensive line than that.”
Fenwick added, “they work probably harder than anybody in Manatee County.”
In a first half that included a 30-yard touchdown pass from Colosimo to Tyrone Collins, there were still negatives for the Pirates (2-0). They muffed a pair of punts that they were fortunate to recover and Fenwick fumbled in the second quarter following a 31-yard carry.
Despite that, Bradley was impressed with the way his team overcame the difficulty of having practices and last week’s scheduled game cancelled by Hurricane Hermine. Dealing with the Labor Day holiday added adversity.
“Last week was a crazy week,” Bradley said. “You think we’re going to play Friday. Then, there’s the chance that we play on Saturday. Then, it’s the disappointment of not playing at all. You come back with the holiday on Monday and you have to get all the kids back for that. We had a great week of practice and everyone showed up on Monday. With all the crazy things going on, everyone showed up on Monday and worked hard. We worked hard Monday through Thursday, had a little extra energy (on Friday), and came out all guns blazing in the first quarter.”
Braden River will start Class 7A-District 11 play next week at rival Lakewood Ranch, while Ida Baker begins Class 6A-District 10 play next week at undefeated Charlotte.
“You don’t get ranked No. 3 in the state for no reason,” Ida Baker head coach Billy Conn said about Braden River. “We played (Braden River) last year and we knew that they were a big physical team. Early on (Friday night), I knew it was going to be that way. I told Coach Bradley after the game that in the 12 years that we’ve been at Baker that’s probably the best team we’ve played. And we’ve played some good ones.”