Okeechobee High School clinched the team’s first playoff berth since 2010 with a 42-21 victory over Eau Gallie in front of a large homecoming crowd Friday night.
The crowd got a good glimpse of the team’s three headed monster, quarterback Antaywyn Fludd, who threw for a touchdown, ran for a touchdown and left several defenders grasping for air, Jajuan Cherry, who ran for three touchdowns, rarely left the field, led the team in tackles and intercepted a pass, and Lamar Williams who ran for 139 yards and a touchdown and continued his best impersonation of a battering ram.
Fludd threw for 69 yards and hit Demetrius Clark with a 37 yard touchdown pass. Cherry ran for 86 yards, and scored on runs of two, one and 16 yards. Williams added a short touchdown in the final three minutes.
Coach Chris Branham wanted to see his team’s best game, and at times, he saw the best they could offer: “I feel joy, elation, pride, I am humbled to be a part of this, this is the feeling I wanted for them and this is what they deserved, they went out and earned it.”
Fludd, who was named Homecoming King during halftime, said he has waited four years for a moment like this. “I’m happy. I have football on my mind 24 hours per day,” he said. “I’ve gone through seasons of one win, and two wins, now Okeechobee will see a different side of me, this is the best feeling ever.”
Cherry said he was over joyed with the feeling of going to the playoffs and post season. He said each player holds one another accountable, trusts in each other and has faith they can win.
“This is all we work for and all we think about. We talk about being Brahmans, now it’s time to take the next step, praise God, we are going to the playoffs, Brahman country, and we are going to the playoffs.”
Okeechobee qualified for postseason when Heritage defeated Jensen Beach to hand the Falcons their third district defeat. They will play the winner of District 13-6A from the Daytona Beach area on the road on Friday, November 11th.
Coach Branham said the victory takes a lot of pressure off the team because he didn’t want to travel to Jensen Beach next Friday with the playoff spot still up for grabs.
“It’s a pretty good feeling. We had a great finish in the second half. I told the kids to have long sustained drives and keep our defense off the field. We felt if we kept the Eau Gallie offense off the field we could take control.”
The Brahmans also have one of the toughest schedules in Class 6A this year in terms of their opponents won loss record.
“It wasn’t an easy road but these young men accomplished this side by side. They have proven to be a playoff worthy team,” he added.
Fludd said he heard growing up that this would be the team to get Okeechobee in the post season but he said that was just talk that didn’t mean anything. He said there was a lot of pressure on the team before they even played in high school.
“When we beat Martin County (week one) I was like were the team everybody thought we’d be. We made some mistakes but we bounced back. You show how could of a team you are when you bounce back strong.”
Andravious Stallworth busted loose for a 34 yard run on a reverse for Okeechobee, (6-1). Commodore QB Jack Gallo completed his first six passes and finished (23-35) with two touchdowns and 278 yards passing. Darin Garland caught 112 yards in receptions for the Commodores (5-3). OHS held Eau Gallie to 83 rushing yards a season low. Mateo Vasquez had a sack and a tackle for loss for OHS. Buster Mond and Tannar Thornton had tackles for loss for the Brahmans. Cordell Dzara had a tackle for loss and blocked a field goal for the Commodores. Bracen Harvey and Bubba Fludd recovered fumbles for OHS. Fludd had a 23 yard touchdown run called back by penalty. Clinesha Williams was named Homecoming Queen for OHS. The Brahman JV game with Clewiston was cancelled Thursday and several JV player were called up for their first varsity game including Kamani Smith, Chance Crews, Andrew Bates, Peyton Hewitt, Elton Pelt, Veyon Washington and Mateo Martinez.
Charles M. Murphy is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News