Terriers topple Brahmans at top of the lake

Posted 9/25/19

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee Brahmans and Moore Haven Terriers faced each other for the first time since 2016 on Sept. 19 in Okeechobee.

Back in that 2016 match-up, Okeechobee dominated the …

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Terriers topple Brahmans at top of the lake


OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee Brahmans and Moore Haven Terriers faced each other for the first time since 2016 on Sept. 19 in Okeechobee.

Back in that 2016 match-up, Okeechobee dominated the Terriers 45-7. Some key players from the 2019 Moore Haven team were there in 2016 when the Brahmans rolled into town and laid waste to the Terriers. Lorenzo Sampson, Kelton Hallback, Lonnie Sampson, LJ Sampson Jr., Zion Moore and Isaac Harper were all freshman on the Terriers football team that year when Bubba Fludd and the Brahmans lit up the scoreboard.

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
Terrier senior LJ Sampson throws a pass during Moore Haven’s game against the Okeechobee Brahmans on Sept. 19.

That 45-7 rout by the Brahmans had to be on the minds of those players as they made the 40-minute drive from Moore Haven to Okeechobee High School at the top of the lake.

In the seasons following that loss, the two schools headed in different directions. The Terriers would go a combined 18-1 in the next two regular seasons, make back-to-back appearances in the playoffs, including hosting and winning a playoff game in Moore Haven for the first time in school history. Okeechobee, meanwhile, went a combined 3-19 in that same time span.

If the Terriers wanted a revenge game, the stage couldn’t have been set better.

And still, things couldn’t have started any worse for the Terriers.

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
Okeechobee sophomore Richard Becerra pats senior Justin Ray on the back after the Brahman defense gets a stop against the Moore Haven offense.

The Brahmans were able to jump up early on the Terriers, scoring two touchdowns in the first half. Okeechobee freshman Michael Burgarelli caught the Terriers off guard, outrunning Moore Haven defenders for a 74-yard touchdown to put the Brahmans up 7-0. On the next Terrier possession Okeechobee senior Veyon Washington was able to strip the ball away from Moore Haven junior running back Nate Crawford. Washington was able to recover the ball as well, giving the Brahmans possession around midfield.

Okeechobee junior Jayquavious Thomas marched into the end zone in the second quarter to give the Brahmans the two-score lead.

The Terriers got the ball back with three minutes left in the first half, desperately needing to find a way into the end zone before halftime.

Those three minutes in the second quarter proved to be the turning point in the game.

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
Okeechobee coach Ty Smith addresses his team in the fourth quarter of the Brahmans game against the Moore Haven Terriers as a light rain begins to fall.

Moore Haven quarterback LJ Sampson rolled out of the pocket and hit Kelton Hallback on a 68-yard touchdown pass to cut the Brahman lead in half. On the next Okeechobee possession Terrier senior Ja’veon Tullock made a diving interception of a pass by Veyon Washington. A few plays later Nate Crawford broke a few tackles and waltzed into the end zone to tie the game up before halftime.

Moore Haven coach Brent Burnside credited his players for having the mental toughness to stay in the game despite going down early.

“It’s kind of hard on a short week to get the momentum going,” said Burnside. “We came in really sluggish on Monday and I told the kids, I think that carried over into this game. But I’m proud of them for sticking to the game plan and getting things corrected and redirected in the second half.”

The Moore Haven defense shut out the Brahmans in the second half. The Terrier run game started rolling in the fourth quarter, Crawford was able to put two more touchdowns on the scoreboard, and Moore Haven pulled off the 26-14 comeback victory.

“I told the team that we can’t give up the big play,” said Okeechobee head coach Ty Smith. “We gave up a big play with the pass and another one on the run. At halftime we talked about coming out and getting a stop, or even if they’re able to score come back out, play great defense and we will score on our own. It was just one of those situations where we never recovered.”

The win brings Moore Haven to 2-2 this year, and drops Okeechobee to 1-3.

Moore Haven travels to face the 1-3 Community School of Naples Seahawks on Sept. 27 while Okeechobee hosts the 1-2 Sebastian River Sharks on Sept. 27.

brahmans, football, moore-haven, ohs, terriers