Inside Preps: Braves Finally Looking Complete
Thu. October 11, 2012 at 12:19 a.m. | By Solange Reyner
By SOLANGE REYNER
Our football preview section went in a different direction this year and each team in the county was given a theme.
Some were assigned, others talked about with coaches.
I coined Lake Gibson "The Complete Package" and our photo editor squeezed four of the team's top players into a big cardboard box, with popcorn stuffing all around them.
The theme felt like it fit. Lake Gibson has the top quarterback in the county at this point in the season and two really solid skill players in running back Tyler Brown and Eric Carter.
Plus, the defensive line looked stout again.
The photo looked really good and the guys had fun with it.
But after Lake Gibson's preseason stinker against Lakeland, it looked more like someone from UPS took that box and threw it around the back of their truck, no TLC whatsoever.
The fact that the Braves had trouble closing out games against George Jenkins and Auburndale added to those thoughts.
After seeing what unfolded Friday night, though, it's safe to say that the Braves are living up to my hype.
The way they rallied back from 11 points down to beat Winter Haven in a district match-up was very impressive, especially after it looked like they were done at the five minute mark when Adam Lane scored for the Blue Devils, a touchdown that happened after Carter bobbled a pass and turned the ball over.
"I thought it was the end of Eric," Carter said Wednesday after practice. "A Minnesota recruiter was in the stands and saw it all."
That same recruiter was there to see the comeback, too.
After a little talk with lineman Jason Foster and a little prayer on the sideline, Carter pinned his helmet straps back on and helped the offense march 59 yards for a score. That got the Braves within three points.
The defense held tough on Winter Haven's next offensive series with big plays by lineman Kennard Swanson and Anthony Green and defensive back Kendall Gant and got the ball back with 2:05 left in the game.
Then Carter caught a big pass. Brown broke off for a big run. Jordan Smith and Sammie Jackson caught big passes and Brown, on the 15-yard line, broke three tackles to score the game winner.
Lake Gibson's play calling was on point during those last two drives.
The coaches saw mismatches against Winter Haven, particularly the linebackers and defensive backs out of place, and seized the moment.
The Braves showed grit and poise under pressure, and that's what good teams do. So maybe I wasn't wrong on the complete package statement.
But there's a lot more football to be played before I can say that assessment holds true.
"It's a special feeling to be 6-0 and be ranked," Carter said, "but I don't want to hear about rankings or any of that. I want them not to rank us."
Too bad, Eric. The secret's out.