OKEECHOBEE- The Okeechobee High School Brahman football team took the field bright and early on Aug. 12 to prepare for their upcoming season.
It’s a season the Brahmans are hoping will be a turning point in the football program. Okeechobee is coming off a 1-8 season last year, and after a strong showing in the spring game against Hardee, there’s hope the Brahmans will be adding some more notches to the win column this season.
“The energy is just different,” said Brahman senior Carriss Chilsom-Johns . “We just have a lot of people that are hungry and ready to win.”
The Brahmans had an impressive 28-6 spring game against the Hardee Wildcats back on May 19. Johns had two touchdowns in that game, including a 50-yard screen pass from fellow senior Ni'marion Bryant. Bryant also had 45-yard touchdown run in the game.
Head coach BJ Pryor wants more of that kind of offensive performance in the future.
“I thought the offense gelled real nicely,” said Pryor of the game against Hardee. “We got a quarterback in Nemo Bryant who is doing a fine job and learning to progress through his read well. We’re doing a good job on learning what the opposing defenses are doing so our quarterback knows where the opportunity is.”
Sophomore linebacker Matthew May says it feels like the team has a higher confidence level headed into the new season.
“We’ve been working our butts off since spring,” said May. “I think we’re going to have a good season.”
One upcoming opponent brought up by multiple Brahman players and coaches in the early practices were the Sebring Blue Streaks. The Brahmans are set to host the Blue Streaks on Oct. 27 at OHS this season. And last season’s 42-0 loss left a bad taste for many of Brahmans.
“We kind of got demolished by them last year,” said junior guard William Crum. “We’re looking forward to hitting again.”
That 42-0 win over Okeechobee helped Sebring secure their second consecutive district championship. That kind of sustained success is something many in Okeechobee are hoping to replicate.
“They’re a team we aspire to beat,” said assistant coach Garth Striebel. “All the cogs and wheels are in place for us to bring a lot more energy and wisdom to that game.”
Okeechobee is hosting a kickoff classic against Palm Beach Lakes on Aug. 17. The Brahmans regular season starts with two back-to-back road games. Okeechobee plays DeSoto County on Aug. 25, and Vero Beach St. Edward's on Aug. 31. Their first home game of the regular season will be against Ambassadors Christian Academy on Sept. 8.