OHS Brahmans look for fan support on road games

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OKEECHOBEE — After a botched re-sodding of the high school football field cost the Brahmans at least two of their home games this season, coach Chris Branham and his players are hoping the Okeechobee community will travel to support the team on the road.

One of the home games lost was this Thursday’s game against Treasure Coast. Branham made it clear how crucial it is for fans to establish home field advantage at an away game.

“It’s very important to have home field advantage, especially considering it’s an away game,” Branham said after a sweltering practice Tuesday afternoon. “I know the game is on a Thursday night and it’s away, but we need all the support we can get this week. It’d be wonderful.”

Expectations are high for the Brahmans to compete for a playoff position this year. Coming off an 8-1 season the Brahmans welcome back 14 players from last year’s team. With 12 of those returning players being seniors, experience will be a strength for the team.

“Last year our mantra was ‘expectations and goals’ — we talked about that every single day. Expectations are what the coaches have and goals are what the players have for themselves,” explained the coach. “Hopefully, our players end up where their goals become the same as our expectations. Last Friday was a little bit of a shaky opening for us, but we know we have a lot of talent on this team and we are going to expect more.”

The ‘shaky opening’ that Branham was referring to was the kick-off classic against Jupiter, which Okeechobee lost 34-20.

The Brahmans started the game strong with a 9-yard touchdown run from Jermaine Moore in the first quarter. After the Warriors answered with a touchdown of their own in the second quarter, Okeechobee senior Jajuan Cherry returned a fumble recovery 77 yards for a touchdown and it felt like momentum might stay with the Brahmans.

But it took only one minute for the Warriors to respond with a roaring 82-yard run by J.J. Dillard.

The second half was all Jupiter, with the Warriors notching three touchdowns while the Brahmans only managed one. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the extra point was blocked on Okeechobee’s only second-half touchdown.

Branham had only one response when asked if he could see any positives from the game.

“The only positive is that we have film to fix all of the mistakes,” the coach said with a smile.

Looking forward to Treasure Coast, Branham acknowledged the size of their offensive line but also singled out a defensive player he’s watching.

“The defensive end they have, Rashawn Yates, is amazing. If you ask me he’s the marquee defensive linemen in this area.” Branham said, “Our whole team needs to step up and play well. The expectation from me, as a head coach, is that everybody steps up.”

The coaches have set the expectations; the players have set their goals. Now Brahman fans hope the expectations and goals will end with a playoff run and championship.

Okeechobee plays Treasure Coast this Thursday at 7 p.m. at South County Stadium in Port St. Lucie.

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