The Lions fell in a close 12-7 game Nov. 20 to rival Victory Christian, last year’s Class 2A state champion.
WINTER GARDEN In the waning moments of the regional championship Nov. 20, Foundation Academy neared the end zone trailing Victory Christian, 12-7.
The end zone at Walker Field represented more than just a touchdown — it represented a trip to the state semifinals and what would have been the program’s first-ever regional championship.
Those hopes were shattered, though, when a defender for Victory intercepted a pass, gaining possession and sealing the victory.
It was a heartbreaking turn of events for the Lions, considering Foundation led the game until fourth quarter.
“We’re young and we made mistakes,” said Coach Brad Lord. “That’s it.”
Foundation and Victory met earlier this season Oct. 16, when the Lions defeated the Storm 34-28 in overtime. It was a particularly important win for Foundation as it locked up the Lions’ first-ever district title and came against the state champions from 2014.
With all that said, Lord and his staff knew beating a good team twice was going to be difficult.
“I knew it was going to be a war when we played again,” Lord said. “We’re a little upset we didn’t go further than we did but we had a great season.”
The 2015 season began with a four-game losing streak. Things turned around quickly for Foundation after its coaching staff made adjustments to the offense. The team, which concluded the season with a 7-5 record, won seven games in a row leading up to Friday’s loss to the Storm.
“I knew it was going to be a war when we played again. We’re a little upset we didn’t go further than we did but we had a great season." -Coach Brad Lord
The Lions went further in the playoffs than any other football team in the Winter Garden-based school’s history, also winning their first-ever playoff game.
“What can I say?” Lord said to his players after the loss, as the sounds of the Victory celebration grew louder in the background. “You gave me the greatest year I’ve ever had as a coach. I love you guys. ...
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” he said later. “We made too many mistakes. But you played hard. And you fought.”
After the coaches spoke, junior Jaquane Patterson got in front of his team.
“I’m proud of you all. We started off 0 and 4,” he said. “But we brought it together every day. We became one as a family.”
The majority of the players on Foundation’s roster will return next year, so the team hopes to return strong and make a deeper run in the playoffs.
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected].