BRANFORD — It was a good school year for Branford High athletics, especially in football and girls basketball.
Here’s a look back at the top 10 stories and moments from BHS.
10. Spring football
The rise of Kyson Johnson and Colton Leibold will be something to look for this fall. The duo, with Johnson at quarterback and Leibold at receiver, connected for two touchdowns in the Bucs’ spring football wins against Dixie County and Bell.
9. Lewis shines
It was a down season for the Branford High baseball team. The Bucs did get off to a good start though as Brock Lewis, a Bell High transfer, earned the victory on the mound against his former team on March 1. He struck out nine hitters and Josh Ramirez drove in three runs in Branford’s 12-2 win.
8. Survive and advance
In a hectic, turnover-filled game, Tori Suggs provided a calming presence in the final minute of Branford’s district semifinal against Bronson.
Suggs knocked down some clutch free throws to help the BHS girls basketball team defeat Bronson 55-51 and extend the season.
7. Turning the tide
The Branford football team defeated Trenton for the first time since 2009 in a 40-6 rout. Although it was a down year for the Tigers, it was still a big win for the Buccaneers after being shutout by THS the four previous meetings. Aaron McQuay ran for 221 yards and two scores.
6. Track and field
In the district track meet, the BHS girls finished second as a team while the boys took fourth. The Bucs had individual district champions with CJ Pepper (pole vault), Dakota Stevens (triple jump) and Nathalia Veal (100 hurdles, pole vault). Stevens placed seventh at state.
5. Milestone moment
An ankle injury couldn’t keep Suggs from reaching 1,000 career points. After missing about a month of the season, Suggs reached the milestone mark in a win against Bell on Jan. 8.
Branford has seen a lot of improvement in athletics in recent years. Besides improved teams, the Buccaneers are also sending players to the next level. Pepper (track), Rene Root (basketball), McQuay (football) and Billy Procko (cross country) signed with colleges.
McQuay and linebacker Jevin Johnson were named to the Class 1A All-State Honorable Mention Football Team by FloridaHSfootball.com. McQuay ran for 1,220 yards and 17 touchdowns while Johnson had 91 tackles and two interceptions.
2. Historic season
The Branford girls basketball won its first playoff game since 1977 with a thrilling 43-42 victory at Frostproof. Down by eight points in the fourth quarter, Branford pressed its way back in the game and caused havoc late. Amber Hitt scored the game-winning basket.
1. Playoff bound
The Branford football team completed its first winning season since 2010 and advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2000.