Updated: Oct 20, 2019
Branford, FL. Written By: Kevin Smalls
Friday night football featured a non-conference matchup between the host-team Branford Buccaneers (4-4), and the visiting Interlachen Rams (4-3).
The rain made its impact, but it did not stop the show.
It was senior night for Buccaneers and senior football players. Cheerleaders, and band members were also acknowledged. It was also the 40-year reunion for the Branford High class of 1979.
Despite the weather, the back and forth smack talking, and numerous penalties, the Buccaneers out-played the Rams and moved to 5-4 on the season.
“We knew they had really good athletes," Buccaneers head coach Tim Clark said. “We are banged up at the skills positions, so we had a big challenge tonight.”
Coach Clark said they knew the Rams like to spread out and throw the ball, so they had to put pressure on the quarterback.
“We put emphasis on different blitzes and coming at him from different directions,” he said.
The game plan worked in their favor, for sure. The Rams struggled to move down the field for majority of the game.
On the other end, the Buccaneers offense came out firing on all cylinders. On their first offensive possession, the Buccaneers went 80-yards down the field using a mixture of run plays and pass plays, resulting in a rushing touchdown for RB Dakota Hamm.
Hamm rushed for both of the Buccaneers first two touchdowns, making the score 14-0 at the end of the first quarter. He would not play the second half due to an injury.
The Rams were able to find some offensive momentum midway through the second quarter. Austin Loyd made a 42-yard field goal to put the Rams on the scoreboard, trailing 14-3.
The Buccaneers offensive and defensive line seemed like too much for the Rams to handle as they powered through the Rams on each end of the field. The O-line deserves much credit for the success the backs for the Buccaneers had, and the D-line earned notice for the pressure they applied the entire night.
QB Seth Heiderman’s ability to control the tempo of the game was a key success for the Buccaneers. He may not have had his best game, but he was able to facilitate by handing the ball off to his explosive running back at the right time, or using his own rushing ability to pick up major yards.
“I wasn’t doing too good passing the ball, but our offensive line stepped up, and our running backs were running the ball pretty good,” Heiderman said.
RB Colton Leibold was eruptive for the Buccaneers. Whenever they needed a big play, Colton was able to get the yards they needed. He scored the third touchdown of the night for the Buccaneers, making the score 20-3 going into the half.
“I think I did pretty good cutting on the outside and then cutting in when they started to overbite,” Leibold said.
Leibold believes his team did really well at stopping the Rams passing game.
“That’s really what we worked on all week – just straight coverages,” he said.
The second half presented more ground and pound from the Buccaneers, but neither team would find their way in the endzone in the third quarter.
In the fourth, the game picked back up. The Rams defense put their foot on the gas and wasn’t allowing the running game to be as effective as earlier in the game.
Kaleb Wiggins found Reggie Allen for a long pass reception putting them in good field position, which they hadn’t been in for a while. Wiggins then ran a quarterback keeper into the end zone midway through the fourth quarter, making the score 20-10.
Markell Pugh and the Buccaneers would be too much to handle for the Rams, as he rushed for his first touchdown of the night to seal the deal, 27-10.
With the starting running back out, the second string running back going out during the game, and multiple defensive starters out, Coach Clark said he could not be more proud of the way his team came out, gave maximum effort, and grounded out a win.
Players of the game:
Dakota Hamm – 2 TD’s (Did not play in second half).
Colton Leibold – 1 TD, and 50+ yards on the ground.