Braden River defeats Chatfield in football opener
Deshaun Fenwick took the pitch left and cut upfield before switching gears toward the sideline.
But Fenwick wasn’t looking to go out-of-bounds.
Instead, the Braden River senior running back planted his cleats in a dead-stop, avoided a couple tacklers and exploded in a diagonal away from the sideline toward the end zone.
It was a 50-yard touchdown run for the South Carolina commit early in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s regular season opener for the Pirates.
It also left opposing head coach Bret McGatlin of Chatfield (Littleton, Colo.) amazed.
“He had something in him where I was like, ‘Woah,’” McGatlin said. “I could tell when he got going, our guys just bounced off him. He’s a good athlete.”
Fenwick’s run broke open a shootout-styled game at Lake Buena Vista’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Walt Disney World.
Disney is where the magic is.
Braden River running back Deshaun Fenwick, who was named an offensive MVP
The Pirates (1-0) capitalized with their precision offense, before Mark Davis picked off a pass on Chatfield’s final possession to lock up the 49-32 victory.
“I saw that they only had one linebacker in the box,” Fenwick said of his game-changing run. “No one to the left side. I rushed (quarterback Bryan) Gagg to get the snap off, and I had a really good block on the outside. The safety came over late, and I just had to make a move on him.”
Fenwick was one of three running backs that Braden River used in an explosive rushing scheme, while quarterback Bryan Gagg attacked the Chargers through the air.
Joining Fenwick, who tallied 133 rushing yards on 18 carries, in the Pirates’ three-headed backfield were Cam White (14 carries for 115 yards) and Knowledge McDaniel (eight carries for 47 yards).
McDaniel, a junior with several Division I offers, also caught a leaping 40-yard touchdown catch in traffic en route to 106 receiving yards.
Gagg finished 10 of 18 for 212 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
And Fenwick garnered Braden River’s offensive most valuable player award presented by KSA Events, the game’s organizer.
“Disney is where the magic is,” Fenwick said.
Meanwhile, Chatfield produced a stern opening test for the Pirates, who utilized their physical style to run the ball at will throughout the matchup.
Braden River head coach Curt Bradley said they need to get better.
“We were not good defensively, plain and simple,” Bradley said. “We’re not going to hide from it, we’re not going to run from it.”
Fenwick said he plans on giving the MVP award to his offensive line, which opened gaping holes for him to plow through on Thursday.
However, his performance, which included four touchdowns, was particularly eye-opening to McGatlin.
“He’s a D-I kid,” McGatlin said. “We don’t see kids like that in Colorado. ... And when you see him in person, it’s like, ‘Wow.’ He’s even bigger than you think he is.”
Just prior to Braden River’s victory over Chatfield, Palmetto High defeated the Chargers in junior varsity action.
Xavier Williams threw five touchdown passes, Eddravian Butler tallied three scores, and Matt Wyatt paced the defense with three sacks, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble in a 46-6 blowout victory.
“The kids weren’t intimidated,” Palmetto varsity assistant coach Matt Braselton said. “They practice against the varsity guys every day, and we practice every day at 3 o’clock, so they already had some confidence. They knew they were coming in from Colorado. If we could wear them down and it was a close game, we’d have a chance. It got out of hand early and they couldn’t handle our speed.”
Braselton said he believed it was the first time Palmetto played an out-of-state opponent in football at any level.
It was the first out-of-state game for Braden River.