The first-ever matchup between host Braden River and Clearwater is not over — yet. To make matters even more confusing, it may or may not be resumed.
Friday night’s game was postponed due to lightning with the Pirates overcoming an early deficit to take a 21-7 halftime lead. There was talk among coaches, athletic directors and other school officials about resuming later that night, on Saturday or at another undetermined date. There was even a mention of mediation.
Points, however, are at a premium in the first year of the Florida High School Athletic Association’s revamped playoff format. So by midnight, Clearwater coach Don Mesick and Braden River coach Curt Bradley agreed to reschedule the second half at a later date.
Or not, depending on if either team needs the points to make the playoffs.
“We’ll see how the season goes,” Bradley said. “We’ll communicate with their coach throughout the course of the season.”
Early on it looked like Clearwater (1-0) had a solid chance of extending its 11-game regular season win streak as the visitors took the opening kickoff and capped a 15-play, 70-yard drive with quarterback Colin Wray’s 1-yard plunge into the end zone.
That lead was shortlived, however, with Braden River (1-0) needing drives of three of four plays on its first two possessions to take a 14-7 lead in the first quarter. On the Pirates’ third play from scrimmage, Deshaun Fenwick burst up the middle for an 18-yard touchdown run. On the next drive, quarterback Bryan Gagg hooked up with Fenwick in the back of the end zone for a 20-yard scoring pass.
The Pirates were a bit more conventional on their third scoring drive, marching 68 yards in nine plays to take a 21-7 lead on Gagg’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Knowledge McDaniel. Gagg was 5-for-6 for 71 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
“It was frustrating to end it the way it was,” Bradley said.