HUDDLE UP. Coach Andy Johnson talks to the team after the game.
HUDDLE UP. Head Coach Andy Johnson talks to his football team after a tough loss on the road. photo/Parker Fluke

After an encouraging preseason win against Oak Ridge, showcasing a new quarterback and a revamped defense, the football team traveled to Lake Brantley for the first game of the regular season.

Both teams demonstrated slow, methodical offensive approaches in the first quarter, with two drives between the teams. Junior Jonathan De Lucca nearly put the team up 3-0 with a field goal attempt from within the 20-yard line, but he missed to the left and the score remained 0-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Shortly into the second quarter, Lake Brantley scored on a miracle touchdown pass on a fourth-and-long, to put themselves up 0-7. However, a failed onside kick gave the Braves great field position and they capitalized, scoring on a 32-yard pass from junior Jaxsen Anagnostis to senior Sheldon Fox. With De Lucca’s PAT, the score now read 7-7.

After a gashing 61-yard run from the Lake Brantley quarterback, the Patriots were knocking on the door to score, sitting right in the red zone, but good defense stopped them short and a missed field goal kept the score the same. On the next drive, however, Anagnostis threw a costly interception in Braves territory and shortly after, Lake Brantley scored on a trick run play. At halftime, Boone was down, 7-14.

Anagnostis started the second half using his arm and his legs, as their first offensive drive of the half was a perfect mix of pass and run. After several successful plays, Anagnostis dumped it off to senior Brandon Bush on the option play for a six-yard touchdown, tying the score at 14-14.

The next offensive possession for the Patriots was a slow and strategical one, not containing many impressive long gains, but rather many short gains pieced together to move down field. Eventually Lake Brantley scored on a short run in the red zone and with a missed PAT, the Patriots led 14-20.

After a failed fourth-down conversion for the Braves, the Patriots score on the run again and added a 2-point conversion for a 14-point lead. After three quarters of play, Boone trailed 14-28.

The fourth quarter started with a quick Lake Brantley drive and a field goal bringing the score to 14-31. Several big plays from the Braves, including a long run from Anagnostis with a defensive facemask call tacked on, put them in the red zone quick on their next possession. After defensive pass interference was called deep in Patriots territory, Anagnostis connected with senior Nik Deloach for a five-yard passing touchdown. The Braves trailed 21-31.

The defense struggled to keep the momentum, and the Lake Brantley quarterback weaved his way through lines of defenders for an easy 31-yard running touchdown. With less than six minutes remaining in the game, the Braves were down 21-38.

Anagnostis put together a couple of first down passes to Deloach, but in the dwindling minutes of the game, he fumbled the ball on fourth down and Lake Brantley tacked on another score to increase their lead to 21-45.

Anagnostis threw for two touchdowns and Bush ran for one. Seniors Fred Robinson and Tyree Jones had notable performances on the offensive side, and juniors Devonte Booker and Carver Reeves had a couple of key tackles on defense as well.

Come out and support the football team in their home opener, as they face Wekiva on Sept. 2, at 7 p.m.