Braden River started its week well.
The Pirates beat Sarasota Booker 42-7 on the road Monday night in a game that featured a mercy-rule running clock in the second half. The victory extended their winning streak to five games, a stretch in which they’ve outscored opponents by an average of 31 points.
“I kind of challenged the kids,” Pirates coach Curt Bradley said. “The kids accepted the challenge. I was very pleased with how we started the football game, getting out to an early lead and kind of putting this thing away early.”
Pirates quarterback Bryan Gagg completed three touchdown passes in the first quarter, one apiece to Travis Tobey, Deshaun Fenwick and Knowledge McDaniel, and Pirates running back Cam White added a 2-yard rushing touchdown midway through the second quarter.
Gagg finished 10 of 16 for 138 yards and four touchdowns, and White carried 10 times for 115 yards. Fenwick had five carries for 74 yards and three receptions for 47 yards.
The Pirates (6-1) led 28-0 at halftime, outgaining the Tornadoes (3-7) 246-82. It was the sixth consecutive game Braden River scored at least 31 points and seventh time this season.
“We have a tremendous offensive mind behind it,” Bradley said, crediting his offensive coordinator. “We have a great offensive line. We’ve got a very talented quarterback and a lot of weapons. Usually, you start adding those things up, and you’re going to put some points on the board.”
This was the final game for Booker, which finished the regular season below .500 for the eighth time in the past 10 seasons. Its three wins came against Bayshore, DeSoto County and Englewood Lemon Bay, a trio with just six victories combined so far.
Now comes a challenge for the Pirates.
They are scheduled to play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at St. Petersburg and close the regular season at 7 p.m. Saturday with the remainder of a game against Clearwater. They led Clearwater 21-7 at halftime on Sept. 1 before inclement weather forced a postponement.
This means the Pirates, after playing last Thursday against North Port, could have 2 1/2 games over a six-day stretch this week to close the regular season — if they complete the game against Clearwater, which seemed uncertain Monday night.
“We’ll talk to Coach (Don) Mesick tomorrow and figure out the details of that,” Bradley said. “We’ll have multiple options, and we’ll figure out the best for both teams because it was a situation that neither one of us could control, and we’ll do what’s right by both teams.”
Week 11 schedule
Out-of-Door Academy at Saint Stephen’s, 7 p.m.
IMG White at Key West, 7 p.m.
Bayshore at Mulberry, 7:30 p.m.
Braden River at St. Petersburg, 7:30 p.m.
Lakewood Ranch at DeSoto County, 7:30 p.m.
Venice at Manatee, 7:30 p.m.
Punta Gorda Charlotte at Palmetto, 7:30 p.m.
Harmony at Southeast, 7:30 p.m.
IMG Blue at Hoover (Ala.), 8 p.m.