AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Stratford High School junior quarterback and linebacker Bryce Braden earned week seven player of the week after leading the Elks on offense and defense, in a 38-7 win over Farwell.
On offense, Braden dominated in the air and on the ground for Elks rushing for 118 yards, on 18 carries scoring two touchdowns, while also throwing for 168 yards. On defense, Braden was also busy ending the night with 20 tackles and two sacks.
“It was a big game for him, which he’s had nothing but big games all season,” said Stratford Head football coach and athletic director Jon Murphy. “He’s done a great job. His stats are just amazing every week, and a lot of that goes to the fact that he plays both ways and does such a great job on both sides of the ball. Friday, he really came into his own against a really good opponent and I thought he took over the game and a lot of ways statistically, especially because he was able to limit the run game so much, he did a great job.”
Playing on both sides of the ball has helped Braden elevate his game.
“It just helps me understand the game a lot better just to know both sides of the ball and just helps me correlate with my teammates and know the game better,” said Braden.
From the coaching standpoint, Murphy shared they work on balancing the time he spends in each position daily.
“He spends a lot of time offensively and he can’t neglect the other things that he has going on defensively and in small schools that’s the way that it is,” said Murphy. But fortunately, he’s a really intelligent kid and he’s really capable on both sides. So, I think he’s done a great job managing his time and his efforts. For him, I know it’s a difficult thing to juggle, but he’s doing a great job at it.”
Braden has also earned the respect of his teams by leading by example and working to improve each day.
“He leads by example, he’s able to go in and do all the things that he talks about, he can do it himself,” said Murphy. “I think he has a lot of respect in the locker room because of his abilities and the type of young man that he is. He’s a character kid, he’s an intelligent kid, he knows how to take charge. Those guys respect him for that.”
Although Braden had stellar game on Friday, he credits the success to his teammates knowing their role.
“The relationships are always going to be important just to be able to work together and play as a team week after week,” said Braden. “It’s a lot of fun, but the guys are doing their jobs. The defensive line just helped me, and Julio make tackles and just be that make plays.”
Braden continued, “We’re just looking forward to getting better every week to continue to take steps every day.”
As the season continues the Elks are focused on building on the success of their defense and improving offensively.
“Our defense has been really, really sound,” said Murphy. “We’ve got some work to do I think with our offensive line, those guys are coming together. We’ve got some young guys that are trying to learn a little bit out there. They’ve done a great job so far, but we know that they can still play better. We’d like to get our passing game a little bit more involved. But we’re hanging our hat right now in our defense, and we’re proud of that.”