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October 13, 2012
Central Florida Recap
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Lake Brantley continues to be a team on the rise in Central Florida, as the 6-1 Patriots jumped all over the visiting Olympia Titans in the area's marquee matchup, 48-21. The win is big for a Lake Brantley program that dropped a close early season banter with high-powered Apopka but now has seemingly affirmed its role as a key player in the 8A Region 1 race.
Meanwhile, Olympia (3-4) has played seven consecutive ranked opponents and has a defense that continues to struggle against the run. It's wins are impressive (over Apopka, West Orange and Edgewater by an average of 15 points) but its defense has allowed 33.5 points per contest.
Lake Brantley moved the ball seemingly at will, utilizing Zach Krider and Deondre Fair to rip off big gains and keep Olympia's offensive attack in must-score situations. The Patriots also took advantage of Titan quarterback Deondre Francois' absence, intercepting three passes in the first quarter to take an early 21-7 advantage.
Olympia's John Armstrong effectively opened the flood gates in the third quarter, taking a 69 yard run to the house to get the score within seven at 21-14, but Lake Brantley would soon shut the door. As expected, the Patriots used a methodical running game and Maurice Thomas capped the ensuing drive with a short touchdown run to get the score to 27-14. Following a defensive stop, Zack Krider scored from 9 yards out to put the Patriots comfortably ahead, 34-14. Both teams would add late touchdowns for the 48-21 final.
Moving forward, Lake Brantley can't help but eye, circle, engrave in their lockers and druel over their October 26th match up against district and long time rival Lake Mary (6-0). That game, as predicted earlier this year, could be the biggest game the series has ever seen. Expect a sellout crowd and a FlaVarsity appearance for that one.
Meanwhile, Olympia has a bye week upcoming but should be favored in all three of its remaining games. The Titans will take on district foes Wekiva and Ocoee before a regular season finale at Daytona Beach Mainland. The good thing for the Titans is that their tough stretch is behind them and they have the district title all but wrapped up after wins over district heavyweights Apopka and West Orange. If the Titans are able to improve their defense over the next four weeks, they have a high ceiling in class 8A even with their four losses. However, Timber Creek (7-0) will loom in round two and could be a big road block for the Titans.
Timber Creek continues to roll
Speaking of the Wolves, Timber Creek (6-0) had its second consecutive slow start but overcame their mistakes late, downing Winter Springs 20-6. The score was tied 6-6 at the half, but the Wolves went to their money-man in super sophomore Jacques Patrick and never looked back. The highly touted running back rushed for 150 yards and two second half touchdowns to null the upset bid and continue the Wolves path to an undefeated season.
Timber Creek should emerge from the regular season at 10-0, and the sky is the limit in the playoffs. Timber Creek seems favored through the first two rounds, and there may not be a team in 8A-1 or 8A-2 who can keep up with them either. The Wolves have shown great defense the past two weeks and that could be their strength against the high-powered offenses of Orange County.
DP survives scare
Dr. Phillips (7-0) had their backs in their own end zone at the end, but the defense made the plays it needed to en route to a close 21-14 win over visiting Edgewater (2-4). Panther quarterback Alton Meeks has still not returned from a week 2 injury, and the Panthers offense has become somewhat one-dimensional in recent weeks. The Panthers jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead, but Edgewater pounced on a DP fumble in their own end zone and following a partially blocked punt, quarterback JB Woodman found a wide open receiver to tie the game at 14 early in the second quarter. Dr. Phillips returned a block punt for a touchdown in the second half and held off a late Edgewater surge that kept everybody in the stadium on the edge of their seats. The game's last play ended with Panther safety Matt Milano defending a JB Woodman pass in the Panther end zone with no time remaining.
Dr. Phillips has big dates ahead and needs to improve its consistency with the running game, if that is the plan. Following next week's game against Cypress Creek (almost a guaranteed win), the Panthers will take on Evans (5-1) and district rival Freedom (5-1) in back to back weeks to conclude the regular season. The story will continue to be the return date for quarterback Alton Meeks. The senior, when playing, gives DP's offense balance and could give them a shot at a deep playoff run.
Other Games and Scores
Evans 35, Winter Park 19 - The Trojans (5-1) continue to roll through their schedule. Levar Robinson continues to be the spark that fuels Evans, as the senior quarterback lofted three touchdown passes on the night. Expect big things from the Trojans come playoff time, but don't expect them to forget their week one loss to Oak Ridge. Evans is playing hungry and has been running through its opponents since being upset against Oak Ridge in its season opener. Winter Park, on the other hand, has now fallen to 1-5 and may be eliminated from playoff contention. Orlando University (5-2) continues to roll and could seal the runner up spot behind Timber Creek in coming weeks, having already downed Winter Park a few weeks ago.
South Sumter 70, Weeki Wachee 7 - The Raider Nation (7-0) may be rural, but the boys out in Sumter County can play. Keanu Neal is their star power, playing wherever he needs to, and the roster is deep enough to contend with just about anybody in their classification. It's hard to say whether this team or Timber Creek (6-0) is the best kept secret in Central Florida, but both have a ton of potential. Watch for the Raiders to continue their downhill approach and open some eyes across Florida in weeks to come.
Apopka 57, North Miami Beach 20 - This one was supposed to be close, right? The Blue Darters left no doubt in this one, jumping out to a 29-0 first quarter lead and extending that lead to 50-6 before the music break. All of that is in the rear view now, as Apopka (4-2) will put its long playoff streak on the line at West Orange, which has previously been mentioned as "the best 2-4 team in the state of Florida". Look for that assumption to stay true come Thursday night in the big 8A-4 match up. If the Darters win, they should seal the runner-up spot in district play.
Freedom 51, Liberty 27 - Freedom has one of the most athletic receiving cores in Central Florida and continues to play lights out by the week. The Patriots (5-1) have now won five straight games following their season-opening 31-7 loss to Timber Creek and have a huge game this Thursday night against district rival Boone (3-3). Freedom has never beaten Boone, but this year the Patriots are favored and a win would secure the school's first playoff trip since 2005 despite multiple 7+ win seasons in between that span. Watch for Boone-Freedom to be near the top of a stellar group of upcoming match ups in the Central Florida area for next week.
Mainland 20, Palm Bay 14 (OT) - What a win for the Buccaneers (3-3), an inconsistent but athletic team that has seen a see-saw of a season thus far in 2012. The Bucs were down 14-7 with less than a minute remaining in the game, but receiver David White was the hero, hauling in the late touchdown pass that sent the game into overtime. Once there, the Bucs scored on their first play and held the Pirates on their possession to seal a dramatic and much-needed 20-14 victory.
Boone 30, Ocoee 23