Chiefland football welcomes Bucs

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Bronson travels to Mayo for opener

By Sean Arnold

Branford Buccaneers (0-1) at Chiefland Indians (0-1), Friday, Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m.

This one wasn’t pretty last year.

Branford was in town as Chiefland’s homecoming opponent, and the pair locked heads in a phone booth for four quarters only to look up at a 0-0 tie on the scoreboard at the end of regulation.

Senior Lonnie Hinote punched in the winning score in overtime to lift the Indians to a 6-0 win.

Friday marks the second of three straight home games in Chiefland to open the season.

CMHS hopes to avoid such a defensive slugfest this year, as it’s found success with big passing plays this young season. Four turnovers helped put Chiefland in a 28-0 hole against Trenton in the opener, before it found a spark behind a couple of long passes to junior Kirk Williams and a trick play on fourth down that sprung quarterback Wyatt Hammond for a receiving touchdown.

Branford is coming off a 48-8 season-opening loss to Seven Rivers Christian, a Class 2A offensive powerhouse from Lecanto that’s reeled off three consecutive eight-win seasons under Ray Greene.

The Bucs are seeking their first winning season since 2010, when they were led by former Trenton and Santa Fe coach Bill Wiles. Wiles led them to four straight winning seasons, including a 9-1 campaign in 2009.

Branford is without its two top gainers from last season – option quarterback Garette Warren and running back Dylan White, and figure to be led on defense by returning senior Trey Sapp.

CMHS held Branford to 52 total yards in last year’s overtime win.

While this is an intra-regional game (Region 1A-3), it counts just the same as any other game under the new playoff qualifying format. The final record of each team will determine how many points the winner and loser ultimately earns for the meeting.

These schools have met just twice since 2004 – Chiefland prevailed 29-20 in 2015.

Both programs are under new leadership.

“We’re going to go and have fun, that’s what I know,” CMHS coach Adam Gore said. “We’re going to show up and play a game in front of a bunch of cheering people and make memories.”

Bronson Eagles (0-0) at Mayo-Lafayette Hornets (1-0), Friday, Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m.

Usually an opening-week bye isn’t ideal. But Bronson welcomed the pause before the start this season, as it’s playing catch-up after a rocky preseason camp.

The Eagles have experienced some bad luck circumstances at the position of head coach, and are currently co-led by strength and conditioning coach Tim King and athletic director James Roundtree.

BMHS struggled in its preseason classic against Interlachen. The Eagles fell 42-0, but did see encouraging signs from its talented but inexperienced youth, including on a 42-yard run by freshman Xavier Guyton.

Bronson now hits the road to take on a Lafayette team in Mayo that’s had a lot of success under head coach Joey Pearson. Last year, the Hornets bounced back from their first losing season in 11 years to go 8-2 in the regular season, ultimately missing the playoffs in finishing third in their district.

In the Hornets’ 33-10 win last week against Brookwood (Thomasville, Ga.), senior quarterback Jaxson Beach was efficient with his arm and his legs, completing 13 of 21 passes to seven different receivers for 142 yards and a touchdown against no interceptions. He added 187 yards and a pair of scores on the ground with 13 carries (14.4 average).

Lafayette handed Bronson its second-most lopsided defeat (48-12) last season. The Eagles finished 1-9 in 2016, but five of their loss were by 10 points or fewer.

King has stressed the importance of discipline and organization to help focus this year’s promising BMHS squad.