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October 2, 2013
Mid-Season Central Florida Wrap
It's been five weeks of football here in the state of Florida, and the top-heavy Central Florida region, which came into the week with three nationally ranked teams, has revealed that it may have four to seven teams that could make a statement on the statewide level at the midway point of the regular season.
Two story lines continue to remain unchanged: The consistent - but different - ways that Apopka and Dr. Phillips are dominating Central Florida. What's different is in the fundamental ways they are doing it. Apopka, which had to evolve after losing QB Zack Darlington to injury in a close loss to national #16 Byrnes (SC), has run wild on teams with their signature single wing attack thanks to a plethora of young depth, while Dr. Phillips leads with its defense and has five dangerous backs that can catch and run quickly. Both teams average under or near 30 to 40 plays per game and over 10 yards per play.
Apopka (4-1), ranked 57th nationally, captured a 49-0 win over Orlando Freedom, while national #69 Dr. Phillips (5-0) rolled to a 51-14 victory over Orlando University (3-2) in week five action. These two teams are the clear power players at this point in Central Florida, continuing the trend from 2012 that saw these programs pitted in the 8A Final Four, a game that Apopka won on its way to the 8A State Title.
But not all was good on the national front for Central Florida, as the third peg on the nationally ranked Central Florida trifecta, national #68 Oviedo, fell to state ranked Merritt Island (5-0), 21-3. The Lions' Chris Davis and Jurell Green went down to injury early and the team never responded offensively.
This should remove the Lions from the RivalsHigh 100, but the Lions have a ton of talent and could make a big statement in a region that includes Apopka and West Orange.
That's right statewide pundits, trolls and pollsters, West Orange (5-0) seems to be the #3 team out of Central Florida, and they are in the conversation with Apopka, Dr. Phillips and Oviedo.
The Warriors are running through a schedule that has included three playoff teams, and it hasn't been close. Here is a quick recap: Boone (52-14), Freedom (40-12), Oak Ridge (53-24), Leesburg (41-14), Orlando Jones (43-0).
But for those of us who like to speculate, wait no more... The Warriors face nationally ranked district foe Apopka this week in what is anticipated to be the best game of the 2013 regular season in Central Florida. Not many on the state or national scales are looking at this match up as a must-watch, but there should be a ton of points in this game and any over/under would seem unrealistically high.
Oviedo has cemented itself inside the top four in the area with Apopka, Dr. Phillips and West Orange, but there are a few other teams that could have the potential to make a run.
Mainland (4-1): The Bucs took Plantation American Heritage to the wire, losing 6-0, showing that they are capable of staying with the best in the state. If anything, their stock from a national perspective just went up.
Lake Mary (5-0): Hold your breath, this happened last year... but the Rams are good. They have wins over Osceola, Lake Howell, Seminole and DeLand, but play Lake Brantley, Olympia and Lyman in consecutive weeks from this point forward. I expect the Rams to win all three of these games, but they will be close.
Osceola (3-2): Don't discount their two losses (21-17 to Lake Mary, 22-16 to Fort Pierce Central), this team is in for a run in Class 7A.
Teams on the fringe of this list include Timber Creek (3-1), led by running back Jacques Patrick, Seabreeze (4-0) and Winter Park (5-0).
Top Week 6 Games and Previews
West Orange (5-0) @ Apopka (5-1)
- Expect a ton of points and some great offensive play in a match up of the top two teams out of 8A-5. The over-under on this game is astronomical - so watch for a shootout. Apopka is heavily favored from a national perspective, favored from a state perspective, but should squeak out a victory from a local perspective.
Orlando University (3-2) @ Oviedo (4-1)
- Oviedo will try to get back on track this week, and they have no option. This is a district game that would put the Lions behind the 8-ball in a district that also includes Timber Creek and Winter Park. University, with a loss, would be eliminated from the playoffs. University should be able to get some yards through the air, but the running game struggled last week against Dr. Phillips. If Oviedo is healthy, they should win by a two-touchdown margin.
Winter Park (5-0) @ Timber Creek (3-1)
- Winter Park comes into this game unbeaten but with a lot to prove. Timber Creek was seen as co-leader out of this district during the preseason alongside Oviedo, but Winter Park has proven it can play with and beat other Central Florida playoff teams. The key to this game will be defense: If Timber Creek is able to stop Winter Park, running back Jacques Patrick will do enough on the ground to get the win.
Lake Brantley (4-1) @ Lake Mary (4-0)
- Lake Mary is off to a fast start after defeating highly-ranked Osceola 20-17 in week two action. Last year, Lake Mary walked into this game undefeated and nearly upset the historically-strong Patriots. For it to work this year, the Rams need a complete team victory, and that will start with its stout defense. Lake Brantley has an excellent running game and has rebounded well since losing to Apopka early in the year.
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