After being on the wrong end of a tiebreaker in 2015, the Eagles were on right end of one this fall and will play Faith Christian in the first round of the SSAC Playoffs.
OCOEE When the Legacy Charter football team steps on the field at Faith Christian Thursday evening, it will mark a first for the fifth-year program — the Eagles’ first appearance in the Sunshine State Athletic Conference’s Playoffs.
After being on the losing end of a three-way tie in 2015 and not advancing to the playoffs, this time around Legacy (5-3) was the beneficiary of a three-way tiebreaker with Central Florida Christian Academy and Orangewood Christian — which all finished at 2-2 within the Coast Central Florida Division.
The Eagles are the No. 5 seed in the Coastal League Playoffs, and the Lions are the No. 4 seed.
“I felt like we played well enough to make it last year and just barely missed — that was a huge letdown for the boys,” said head coach and Legacy High Athletic Director Jarrett Wiggers. “It’s a huge deal for them to get an opportunity to play beyond the regular season. We’ve been building and building. … We’ve been competing every year and we’ve just fallen short.”
The opportunity to compete for a conference championship is certainly not lost upon the Eagles’ senior class.
“It’s a blessing,” senior quarterback Hilton Lamprecht said. “To be a part of Legacy’s first playoff game and to be a part of this senior team — the group of guys and the brothers that I have on this team — it is nothing but a blessing.”
Lamprecht has returned to the playing field last month after missing the first half of the season due to injury. With his return has come a shift toward normalcy for the Eagles’ offense.
“We’ve done a lot of experimenting this year, which is really not my style,” Wiggers said. “For the postseason, the experimenting is done — we’re going to stick with what we do best.”
In particular, Wiggers said it is important for Legacy to keep its best players and its leaders on the field in a position to impact the game. Some of the specialty packages Wiggers and his staff experimented with has taken the ball out of the hands of players like Lamprecht (once he had returned from injury) and junior Gehrig Chambless.
To defeat the host Lions (7-1), Legacy will have to contend with a high-powered offense that is averaging 35.6 points per game and is fueled in large part by a strong rushing attack. Sophomore Makai Burris has rushed for 969 yards and 14 touchdowns this fall — averaging a whopping 10.8 yards per carry.
The Eagles have relied on their defense all fall, with the unit allowing 20.3 points per game.
Beyond the match-ups, though, is a new sense of urgency for a program that is eager to make its first playoff appearance more than a one-game cameo.
“We are going to really, really focus on basically leaving it all on the field for one game,” Wiggers said. “Instead of trying to set things up for later on, we’re just going to throw everything we have out there.”
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].