OKEECHOBEE — Jason Loucks scored a touchdown with just over a minute left to break a 6-6 tie and lead Jensen Beach to a 13-6 victory over Okeechobee at the Brahman homecoming game Friday night.
Loucks broke a tackle attempt in the backfield and lunged the ball over the goal line as the Falcons (4-5) scored 13 points to overcome the Brahmans.
The play capped a gutsy eight play 69-yard drive in the final four minutes of the game. Key plays included an off sides penalty against the Brahmans on a third and five and a 20-yard run by Loucks that brought the ball to the Brahman two-yard line.
Okeechobee couldn’t overcome a stout Falcon defense as they were held to 150 yards in total offense, two weeks after they put up 65 points in a game, and one week ago when they put up 547 yards in total offense.
Coach Chris Branham said he hoped his team enjoyed the homecoming celebration because they tried hard to make a good impression.
Loucks rushed for 114 yards and teammate Jebari Brooks rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown in the game. Brooks’s touchdown capped a six-play, 66-yard drive on the Falcons first possession of the second half. The Brahmans had gotten a 53-yard kick return from Jajuan Cherry to open the half and looked to be in good shape for a score. Okeechobee was stuffed on a fourth and one at the Falcon 34 and that play appeared to turn the momentum in favor of Jensen. They went to a hurry up offense that gave the Brahman defense no breaks, and repeated ran the ball behind their right guard and tackle David Paratore. Brooks ran for gains of 18, 17, 12 and 13 yards on the drive.
Okeechobee had controlled things in the first half behind a strong defensive effort. Juanyae Ford hit quarterback Matt Montgomery on a pass play in the second quarter and forced a fumble. Arthur Woodruff scooped it up and ran down to the Falcon 7-yard line. On third and goal quarterback Antywyn Fludd found Cherry open in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown to give OHS a 6-0 lead. The Brahmans couldn’t handle the snap on the extra point try and Jarrett Mills was intercepted by Dylan Inman at the 2-yard line.
Fludd blocked an extra point try by Sam Oliver of Jensen Beach after Brooks touchdown in the third quarter to keep the game tied.
Oliver missed wide right with a 25-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter which would have given the Falcons the lead. Okeechobee’s best chance to score in the second half followed a 59-yard drive in the third quarter. Mills 39-yard field goal try was blocked. Key plays on the drive included an 18-yard run by Lamar Williams and a quarterback scramble by Fludd that netted another 10 yards.
Fludd had the best statistics on the night for Okeechobee as he rushed 14 times for 71 yards. 33 of the yards came late in the game as the Brahmans drove in the final minute from their 20-yard line to the Falcon 35-yard line. With 13 seconds left to play Okeechobee tried to pass plays in the end zone that were batted away by the Falcons.
Okeechobee (4-5) tries to salvage a non-losing season next Friday when they host arch-rival Clewiston, (4-5), who lost to Glades Central 49-7 on Friday.
Branham said his team played better on defense and made things tough on Jensen Beach. On offense his team couldn’t get enough pass protection and were unable to open up any big holes for Williams, who was held to 39 yards on 17 carries.
Scott Kilbride had several tackles in the backfield for Jensen Beach. Juan Martinez had a fumble recovery for Okeechobee. Fludd added an interception for the Brahman defense. Zion Watkins had two tackles for loss and a pass deflection for Jensen Beach. Ryan Abel had a tackle for loss for Jensen Beach. Jajuan Cherry and Kaleb Smith had key tackles to help the Brahmans have a goal line stand late in the first half. Matt Garcia had a tackle for loss for OHS. Connor Phillips had a quarterback sack for Jensen. Jensen was held to 3-8 on third downs and had only 50 yards passing. Jensen Beach was not penalized in the game. Offensive linemen Edrick Neal was named King of the Homecoming court. Krystle Harris was named the homecoming queen. Among the alumni on hand for the class of 1986 reunion was Brahman legend Reggie Rembert who was a college all-America for West Virginia and played in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Charles M. Murphy is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News