PLANT CITY -- Roughly 500 fans traveled Friday to see the Braden River High School football program win its first region championship.
Thanks to an unrelenting defense that intercepted three passes, the Pirates sent their fans home with a 17-7 victory over host Plant City in the Class 7A Region 3 final.
It means another home game for the Braden River seniors. They will play host Friday to perennial power St. Thomas Aquinas in the state semifinal.
The Fort Lauderdale school earned its way into the game with a 60-7 victory over Mater Academy Charter.
On this night, however, no one was concerned with St. Thomas.
Braden River fans were too busy celebrating the victory and marveling how far the Pirates have come since winning only one game three seasons ago.
"Going to the final four" was a popular phrase floating around the postgame celebrations as the Pirates get ready for the biggest game in the history of their football program.
"Looking back on everything, it has flown by," said Braden River senior quarterback Jacob Huesman said. "I've had a ton of fun and it went by extremely fast. I've had a complete blast and I could not have asked for a better team."