In football action, OHS beats Martin County, 49-39

OKEECHOBEE — Things looked bleak for Okeechobee in the first half Friday as they gave up 31 points, 305 yards in total offense, and fell behind by 17 points to talented Martin County.

But one play often can turn a game around, and Okeechobee found an answer in the elusiveness of the legs and the talent of the arm of one Antywyn ‘Bubba’ Fludd.IMG_0020

Fludd rolled out of the pocket with less than 30 seconds left in the first half and lofted a ball effortlessly into the air 40 yards down field into the waiting arms of one Demetrius Clark. He adjusted his body in time, made the catch and raced the rest of the way into the end zone for a 55-yard pass, which might have turned the game, and maybe set the tone for a memorable Brahman season. Okeechobee had life trailing at halftime, 31-21.

“This is probably the best game we have ever played. Beating Martin County, it shows just how good we can be and how good we are. Martin County is a big school and nobody expected us to beat them by 10,” he added. Martin County was a regional semifinalist last year and is expected to be a big winner again this year.

Fludd came through again with the game on the line after Okeechobee scored 28 unanswered points to take the lead. Martin County had pulled to within 42-39 and Okeechobee faced a fourth and four from the Brahman 40-yard line with plenty of time left.

Fludd turned to his coach and said ‘trust me.’ He ran a quarterback read option, broke loose down the sideline and outran the defense for the clinching 60-yard touchdown. Okeechobee won the game, 49-39.

“Bubba is a special kid. He told me ‘trust me’ and he don’t want to let you down. That was just Bubba being Bubba,” coach Chris Branham said.

Fludd said fans should never be surprised at what he does on the football field.

“Coach knows he can trust me if it’s fourth down and we need a first down or even a touchdown,” Fludd added.

Fludd finished the game with 196 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He was accurate as a passer as well with nine completions for another 148 yards with two touchdowns.

He said the offensive line deserved a lot of credit for the way they took control.

“James Thomas is the team captain. Whatever he says goes and whatever he tells the linemen, they do it. He just has stepped up big this year and is doing the right thing for us,” he said.

Lamar Williams was solid again in the run game with 21 carries for 103 yards and two scores.

Kysell Richardson again made a super catch in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown and added five more receptions for a total of 67 yards.

Another key was the way the Brahman defense played in the second half.

Mateo Vasquez was constantly in the Tiger backfield with pressure. Unofficially he had a hand in six sacks. The run defense was solid as they held the Tigers to only 103 yards rushing.

Vasquez said the team just stuck together through some rough moments.

“We stopped arguing and we just fought together and we executed. This win boosts our confidence and we are trying to be the best in the area,” he added.

Martin County appeared unstoppable in the first half as Burnat Martin caught three of his four touchdown passes of the night. He caught seven passes for 172 yards. Martin County threw for 397 yards with starter Austin Kuyrkendall throwing for 305 yards.

Coach Branham said his team just didn’t execute on defense in the first half.

“We had a great week of practice and we just weren’t making plays. We missed tackles, weren’t hitting them and not making contact,” he said.

Branham said Vasquez was the difference maker as he constantly harassed the Tiger quarterbacks in the second half.

“The defense just ignited. They couldn’t sit back and make throws and the pass rush took the passing game away. Our secondary stuck together and they battled through it tonight and they played the game I knew they were capable of playing. I can’t be more proud of the way they rose up and the way they responded,” he said.

Game notes

Bracen Harvey had 2 ½ sacks in the first half. Neither team turned the ball over. Jajuan Cherry had a strong game returning kicks with a 42-yard punt return and a 33-yard kick return. Jarrett Mills hit punts of 59 and 52 yards. OHS had 13 penalties for 150 yards. Martin County had 19 first downs but after early success was just (3-12) on third down.

Sawyer Reese missed on a 41-yard field goal attempt for the Tigers. Okeechobee has a bye week in week two and returns to action on Sept. 9 at Moore Haven.

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