Coach Garret sent off with big win

CLEWISTON — The Clewiston Tigers defeated the Okeechobee Brahmans 42-2 in the final game of the season on Nov. 2, bringing them to 2-8 for the year and keeping Okeechobee at a winless 0-10.

The Tigers racked up 394 yards rushing against the Brahmans and dominated both lines of scrimmage.

The game remained scoreless up until the final seconds of the first quarter when Clewiston sophomore Keontey Fowler broke two tackles on a 39-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers up 7-0. Fowler would increase Clewiston’s lead to 14-0 on their next offensive drive with a 50-yard touchdown run.

A 14-0 lead isn’t insurmountable, though, and if Clewiston wanted to win decisively they’d have to keep Okeechobee out of the end zone. The turning point that let the Tigers run away with the game happened midway though the second quarter.

Okeechobee senior quarterback Blaine Keathley and junior Veyon Washington connected along the sideline for a 38-yard pass to put the Brahman offense on the Clewiston 11-yard line. The Brahmans fought their way to the 2-yard line and found themselves facing a fourth down. Okeechobee coach Ty Smith made the call to go for it on fourth down, knowing his team was already behind two scores and needed a touchdown.

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
Lightning delayed the kickoff of the Nov. 2 Okeechobee-Clewiston game by an hour and a half. Rain continued to come down throughout much of the first half.

On the fourth-down play, the speedy Washington grabbed a toss from Keathley in the backfield and sprinted toward the left side of the end zone. It looked as though Washington would have a walk-in touchdown, but Clewiston junior Jaivus Chavers and sophomore Kev’ontey Fowler shed their blocks and rallied to stop the Brahman ball carrier at the 1-yard line, forcing Okeechobee to turn the ball over on downs.

After the Tigers took over on their 1-yard line, the Brahman defense stuffed Fowler behind the line of scrimmage, scoring a safety. Those two points would be the only ones Okeechobee would score all night.

The victory is Clewiston coach Brad Garret’s last game with the program, as former longtime Tigers coach Pete Walker will be returning to mentor the squad next year. Garret held back tears when he addressed the team on the field and spoke to the Lake Okeechobee News after the game.

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
Clewiston junior Javon Jones checks with the referee to ensure he’s on the line of scrimmage. Jones had a crucial block that sprung fellow junior wide receiver Oran Singleton free for a touchdown in the second half against Okeechobee.

“It’s been a rough season,” said Garret. “We knew that going into this year with a bunch of young guys. But I think this sets them up really good for next year, because a lot of these young guys now have a lot of experience. The entire offensive line except for two will be back next year. Most of the skills guys will be back next year.

“And now they have a feel for what varsity football is like,” Garret went on. “They understand that you have to hold on for all four quarters. I think you’re going to see a team that fights hard in the offseason and in the weight room because they don’t want to have another year like this.”

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