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Preps

Defense swap keys victory

Moving Arsenio Curry back to safety leads to an interception that sealed Brandon's win.

By KEITH NIEBUHR
Published October 9, 2004

PLANT CITY - Arsenio Curry was moved from defensive back to defensive end earlier this season out of necessity.

Urgency brought him back.

With the Brandon defense needing stops in the fourth quarter of Friday's game at Plant City, the defensive staff returned the senior to safety, and in the final 3:43 he produced a fumble recovery and an interception. The plays helped preserve a 35-27 Brandon win, and might have saved the Eagles' season.

"Safety is my natural position," Curry said. "I missed being back there."

Curry's interception of Jason Brown's pass in the final seconds put an end to a dramatic rally. A few minutes earlier, the game appeared to be all but over after Curry's fumble recovery at the Brandon 3. But the Eagles failed to run out the clock, then inexplicably botched the punt snap, resulting in a safety.

The mistake cut the lead to eight and gave Plant City life.

Derrick Hallback's solid return gave the Raiders the ball at the Eagles' 42 with 1:08 remaining. But on third-and-3 from the 35, Curry dropped back into coverage and stepped in front of a Plant City receiver to make the game's biggest play.

"My defensive backs coach (Terrell Williams) told me to stay deep," Curry said.

The victory allowed Brandon (3-2, 1-2 in Class 5A, District 7) to stay alive in the race for a playoff berth. A loss would have all but ended that dream. Plant City (3-2, 2-1) fell slightly back into the pack.

"This is very frustrating," Hallback said. "We had our chances, but we screwed it up. We really thought we were going to take the ball and score. The turnovers killed us."

Hallback and Jason Brown did everything they could.

Hallback rushed for 207 yards and two scores, one that covered 66 yards in the third quarter. After a slow start, Jasom Brown got hot and threw for 115 yards and a touchdown. Plant City finished with 21 first downs and more than 400 yards, but Brandon's offense was just a tad better.

The Eagles used a balanced attack to produce 463 yards.

Quarterback Tyson Gordon threw for 210 yards and running back Mike Brown added 141 on the ground with three touchdowns.

Brandon punted just once, keeping many drives alive with crucial third-down conversions.

"We just tried to come into this game being more consistent," Mike Brown said.

"In half of our games we had beaten ourselves. We didn't do that tonight."

[Last modified October 9, 2004, 01:04:14]


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