Bradford Tornadoes Willie Pollard (12) signals his touchdown of the night as Palatka High School (7-1) hosted Bradford High School (8-0) at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Palatka , FL on Friday, October 28, 2022. Bradford lead 21-7 at the half. [Doug Engle/Ocala Star Banner] Doug Engle, Doug Engle/Ocala Star Banner
Bradford Tornadoes Willie Pollard (12) signals his touchdown of the night as Palatka High School (7-1) hosted Bradford High School (8-0) at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Palatka , FL on Friday, October 28, 2022. Bradford lead 21-7 at the half. [Doug Engle/Ocala Star Banner] Doug Engle, Doug Engle/Ocala Star Banner

Bradford Looks To Advance in FHSAA Semifinals

The state semifinal round of the FSHAA Football State Championships is on Friday. As teams across the state of Florida compete to see who is the best of the best this season, a couple of teams, including Bradford, are rising to the top as favorites to make deep runs in the tournament.

A squad that stands out immediately when looking at the remaining teams in the tournament are the Bradford Tornadoes out of Starke, FL. This team’s 13-0 record is impressive on the surface, but upon further inspection one finds that this team has held their opponents to a touchdown at the very most in every single game they have played this season. Bradford’s most recent game is a great example of this trend. The Tornadoes stomped out the Baker County Wildcats 43-0. This game was the second time Bradford was able shut out Baker County this season, the first time being a 12-0 win in the first week of the season.

Bradford Defense: Impenetrable?

Only Miami’s True North has managed to put up more than a TD against the Tornadoes, scoring 13 on Bradford. Bradford’s defense, led by linebackers Chason ClarkDuke Lewis and Devon McBride, seem to have no chinks in their armor. Bradford have allowed 49 points all season, a 3.8 per game average. Defensive end Torrin Brazell has proven time and time again he can get the offense behind the line of scrimmage. Daejon Shanks and Chalil Cummings are showing shades of Travis Hunter on both sides of the ball, Shanks as the quarterback and Cummings at both receiver and in the secondary. Running back/linebacker Nigel Nelson has rushed for 1,250 yards and 23 TDs for the Crusaders. He also has five interceptions.

Looking Behind and Turning Ahead

The Tornadoes find themselves in a similar position as they were in last year, only to lose a 31-21 game to the Cocoa, FL Tigers. The Tigers and Tornadoes seem to be on a collision course toward each other with wins in their respective games. In order to get to Cocoa, the Tornadoes look to get through 11-2 Pensacola Catholic. These two teams share a team that they both played, and comparatively they each did about equal to one another. Bradford thumped the Suwannee Bulldogs 35-3, while Catholic beat them 41-6.

The winner of this game will face (4) Sarasota Booker (11-2) or (1) Cocoa (12-1) in the state championship on Dec. 8 at Ken Riley Field at Bragg Memorial Stadium in Tallahassee.

About Tyler Kenyon

Tyler Kenyon is a Tampa, FL native who is a third-year journalism and business student at the University of Florida.

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