WINTER GARDEN — The temperature was dipping on Halloween Night, but that wasn’t going to prevent Foundation Academy coach Brad Lord from getting soaked with a ceremonial Gatorade shower.
Lord’s Lions had just defeated the Agape Christian Saints, 32-14, earning their ticket to the FHSAA Class 2A State Playoffs as runner-up in District 2A-4 — so, while he did his best to escape, he also didn’t seem too angry after the fact.
For a team that has had a season of up-and-downs — from an 0-3 start to allegations against one of the program’s coaches following a post-game scuffle on Oct. 24 at Trinity Prep — the victory on Friday at Walker Field was a welcome point of celebration.
“The team’s been through a lot of adversity,” Lord said afterward. “We’ve learned character, we’ve learned a lot of life lessons this season.”
Foundation (5-4, 1-1 district) struck first on a 31-yard touchdown run by D’Angelo Byer, but the Saints (0-9, 0-2 district) struck back on the ensuing kickoff return and, after converting a two-point conversion attempt, held a 8-7 lead in the first quarter.
The Lions would respond by going on 25-0 run, capped by a pair of touchdown passes by junior quarterback Jacob Murphy — one of a few different player on the Foundation roster who has really come along as the season has progressed.
“Everyone wants to make kids a drop back passer but Murph’s a dual threat,” Lord said. “We put in the option and it’s really helped our blocking and it’s helped our running backs. (Defenses) have to put seven or eight in the box and it opens up our passing game.”
One of those touchdown passes was to senior receiver and FIU commit Conrad Brown. Brown, who also caught a two-point conversion following his touchdown, would head to the bench late in the first half and remain there for the remainder of the contest, diagnosed with a sprained ankle.
Lord did not have time table for Brown’s return after the contest but acknowledged how important it will be to have him back.
The Lions will host Melbourne Holy Trinity on Nov. 7 to close out the regular season and celebrate Senior Night. The following week, Nov. 14, will see Foundation take to the road for a state playoff game against Warner Christian, district champion from District 2A-3.
“We’re playing our best football right now,” Lord said. “I know our boys are going to work hard so we can get ready for Warner Christian.”