OKEECHOBEE – The Okeechobee Brahmans varsity football team hosted the kickoff classic on Aug. 16 against the Jupiter Warriors. It was our first look at the new Brahman squad headed into the season, and this year’s team has already shown one difference from last year’s — they can battle adversity.
Jupiter was able to come away from the preseason match-up with a 28-21 victory, but that final score doesn’t tell the whole story of the game.
The Brahmans were down 21-0 after the first two quarters and looked to be on route to a blowout. It was a similar script that played out time and time again last year, a team would score early against Okeechobee and the Brahmans just wouldn’t have the fight to overcome it. Three quarters later the Okeechobee sideline would be looking up at a scoreboard that read 42-0.
Even in that first half, things weren’t all gloom and doom for the Brahmans. The Okeechobee defense forced two turnovers in the early going. Brahman Tydale Lubin lined up as a defensive tackle throughout the game and showed an ability to put pressure on the Jupiter quarterback. One standout play saw Lubin make a great read on a fake handoff by the Jupiter quarterback. He was able to quickly switch directions after seeing the play-fake to pursue the quarterback and disrupt a pass attempt. The Okeechobee offense also showed flashes of promise in the first half. Still, they needed more than just flashes if they wanted to have a shot at winning the game.
In the second half the Okeechobee offense looked like a different animal all together.
The Brahmans received the opening kickoff of the second half and proceeded to march down the field and score a touchdown. Veyon Washington, Jayquavious Thomas, Michael Burgarelli and Matthew Beard all played parts in helping the Okeechobee offense shake off the rust and put points on the board.
Following the touchdown the Brahmans defense did its job and forced a punt from the Jupiter offense. Right on cue the Okeechobee offense again put together another long scoring drive capped off by a 6-yard touchdown run by Washington.
The two teams then traded touchdowns in the forth quarter to make it 28-21. Okeechobee had a chance to force a fourth down against Jupiter with a minute left in the game to give their offense a chance to tie things up, but the Jupiter quarterback was able to find the first down marker and run out the clock on the Brahmans.
If Okeechobee can get its offense rolling earlier, they’ll be a dangerous team that might surprise a few schools this season. Some less inclement weather this week might let the Brahmans actually see the practice field a little more ahead of the regular season opener. Okeechobee, and many other teams around the lake, had trouble getting in real practice time all last week because of the rain and thunderstorms hitting the area in the late afternoon.
Okeechobee will host the regular season opener at home against John Carroll Catholic at 7 p.m. on Aug. 23. The J.V. football team will host their first game of the season a day earlier when they play lake area rival Clewiston at 6 p.m. on Aug. 22 in Okeechobee.