GIBSONTON — Fumbles and key penalties characterized a district battle between East Bay and Brandon, as the Indians trailed for most of the game.
But Fred Porter scored on a 5-yard run with 3:59 left and Forrest Meredith hit the PAT to give the Indians the lead for good. The score was set up when Brandon QB Josh Celerin was crushed by Billy Cole on his 13-yard line and fumbled the ball into Cole's hands. It was one of nine total fumbles in the game.
Trailing 17-3 late in the third quarter, the Indians got a big touchdown from Chaz Burrows, who was limited due to an ankle injury sustained in practice last week. East Bay lined up for a point-after attempt, but Brandon jumped offside twice, setting the ball half a yard from the end zone. Andre Simpson punched in the 2-point conversion to bring East Bay within six.
"We're a running football team," Indians coach Brian Thornton said. "If we can't get a half a yard, we probably don't deserve to win. We were a foot from the end zone, of course we go for it."
Brandon jumped to an early 7-0 lead on a 6-yard run from DeAndre Bowers, taking advantage of an early East Bay fumble that gave the Eagles possession on the Indians' 30-yard line.
The Eagles extended their advantage just before halftime on a 4-yard pass from Celerin to Victor Moore. The score was set up by the fifth East Bay fumble, followed by a 46-yard pass from Celerin to receiver Sean Watson.
Porter, the East Bay quarterback, finished with 108 yards rushing, but dropped the ball three times and lost two fumbles.
"He's going to get better and better," Thornton said. "He did a lot of great things, but he did a lot of sophomore mistake things. It's going to be a learning process, but man, am I happy with the way he's coming along."