RALEIGH - The coach waited patiently to surprise one of his youngest players. Leesville Road coach David Green was so happy for Braxton Berrios, a freshman playing alongside his older brother Austin, a junior.
As the two brothers talked to each other after the Pride’s 32-7 win over Millbrook on Friday night, Green snuck behind Braxton.
Green hugged Braxton. Then, he cracked a joke.
“You just had to run it back because you couldn’t let [Austin] score all of them without you getting one of them,” Green said laughing.
“Yes sir,” said Braxton, with a big smile on his face.
Although the trio could laugh, Green message was true. After watching his older brother lead the sixth-ranked Pride with three touchdowns, Braxton had an opportunity late to produce a highlight of his own.
With the Pride having a comfortable lead, Braxton intercepted a pass with less than two minutes remaining. With the victory now secured, Braxton could have run out of bounds or slid to the ground to end the play. But the entire football field was in front of him.
There was also this: Earlier in the game, Austin returned his inception for a 65-yard touchdown.
“I saw him with that pick six,” Braxton said of Austin. “So when I caught the ball, I told myself I have to do it, too.”
Braxton followed his teammates’ blocks before reversing his field for a 95-yard touchdown return.
When Braxton came to the sideline, Austin was there to give him a hug.
“It’s great,” Braxton said. “I feed off of him basically.”
Although Green used Austin more on offense – for 127 yard rushing and 44 receiving – he knows the brothers can give the Pride a spark at any moment.
“They have quick feet,” Green said. “Every time either one of them touches the ball you know one of them could zigzag their way down the field.”
For Millbrook, the Wildcats (6-3, 1-3 Cap Eight 4-A)struggled without their starting quarterback Trey McFarland. Running back Keith Marshall was asked to do more as he took direct snaps from the shotgun to create yards and the Wildcats lone touchdown.
The win was important for the Pride (9-1, 5-0) as it gave them at least a share of the conference championship. The Pride will have their chance to win the conference outright in two weeks when they travel to face seventh-ranked Wake Forest-Rolesville, who has owned the title the past four years.
“We want more than a share of this,” Green said. “That’s not enough.”
As for the Austin and Braxton, they enjoyed the best game of the season as teammates. And, yes, the younger Braxton talked more after the game, but Austin knew the game was special for both of them.
“It was fun,” Austin said. “It’s something to talk about at home.”
Photo: Leesville Road freshman Braxton Berrios (14) electrified the crowd with this 95-yard interception return. He also added 4 catches for 44 yards. GREG MINTEL - newsobserver.com