Brandon coach Dean Eychner wants to restore the Eagles’ history of winning while remaining under the radar, but that may be difficult if his team continues to win in dramatic fashion.
The Eagles rallied in the last minute to produce a 23-21 victory over Bradenton Lakewood Ranch Friday night in a preseason classic.
Eychner attributed the victory to a blue-collar attitude he has helped develop since taking over the program in 2012.
“We’re not a glamorous team,” Eychner said. “We’re just a working class team with an old-fashioned work ethic. I’m happy for the kids.”
Quarterback Brandon Jones threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lewis to put the Eagles up 23-21 with less than a minute remaining in the game. Lakewood Ranch drove into field goal range on the ensuing possession, but senior Johnny Gianino broke through the line to block a 50-yard attempt in the closing seconds.
“Our kids just hung in there and battled,” Eychner said. “We made a lot of mistakes but we showed a lot of resilience and overcame a lot of adversity. We found a way to get the job done.”
The Eagles now prepare to open the season at Blake Friday, hopeful the victory can provide momentum.
“I think that winning helps anybody,” Eychner said. “It’s a shot in the arm, a boost of confidence and sign to the kids that the effort they’ve been putting forward — really since January — is starting to pay off.”