Injuries, mistakes lead to Brahman grid loss

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee Brahmans were holding their breath after starting guard, defensive end and long snapper senior Koby Chapman went down with an injury during Thursday’s game against Treasure Coast on Thursday.

After a CAT scan later that evening came back negative for a concussion, the Brahmans and the community can let out a sigh of relief.

Okeechobee lost the game to the Treasure Coast Titans 29-0, in a night that was filled with adversity for the Brahmans. From the opening seconds of the game when the kickoff was returned for a touchdown against them, to Chapman’s injury, to a bad snap on a punt that gave the Titans the ball on Okeechobee’s 13-yard line, the Brahmans were fighting an uphill battle.

Still, Okeechobee head coach Chris Branham said the team responded well to the adverse situations they faced in Port St. Lucie.

“That game could’ve been a lot closer,” Branham said. “It wasn’t and there’s no excuse for it. But we got better from last week’s game, and we’re going to get better from this week to next week. I feel like linebacker Bracen Harvey played his best game last night since he’s been with us at the high school. He showed a lot of maturity and varsity experience being in a game like that. He was able to read what their offense was doing and made a lot of big plays for us.”

Treasure Coast had 65 players on their team compared to Okeechobee’s 24, which benefited the Titans and kept their players fresh — especially late in the game when some Brahman players were dealing with cramping.
Add to that Okeechobee loss of Chapman and it’s clear to see how the Brahmans were outmatched.

“It was a valiant effort out of our kids,” Branham said. “We can recover from it. We’re going to be OK. Koby had the CAT scan and that came back negative, so that’s good. Our cramps are just from the early season heat. And the guys that are cramping are playing both ways (offense and defense).

“Regardless of what anybody says about how the ‘old days’ used to be, it’s not easy with the amount of energy the kids are expending for them to be playing both sides without eventually running out of hydration,” the coach added.

With a week of practice to get ready for Lake Wales on Friday, Sept. 1, Branham and his team are hoping they can build off the effort the players showed this week.

“We need to get better,” Branham explained. “Overall, I want to raise the intensity level in practice. We have to start practicing the way we want to play. The way they played Thursday night is the tempo I want to see out of them — a lot of hustle to the ball and a lot of drive out of our kids.”

All teams face adversity during a football season, oftentimes what defines a team is how they respond to it. Branham feels confident his team has the ability and resolve to bounce back and start stacking wins.

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