Battle of Winter Garden: West Orange will host Foundation to open new field
| 9:18 a.m. August 27, 2015
WINTER GARDEN — The newly installed synthetic turf playing surface of Raymond Screws Field at West Orange High will be the site of the first “Battle of Winter Garden.”
The game, which will pit the host Warriors, who compete in Class 8A, against the Foundation Academy Lions, who compete in Class 2A, will be the first meeting of the two nearby programs.
“I think it’s great for Winter Garden,” Foundation Academy head coach Brad Lord said. “It’s great for the community.”
The new field for the Warriors, which was needed after the prior playing surface had been deemed unplayable, was completed last weekend.
Lord’s Lions likely will be playing in front of the largest crowd the program has seen, given the expected turnout for Friday’s game. That is something he hopes will prepare his kids for the program’s big games in district play later in the season.
“They are totally pumped up about playing in front of a crowd that large, and it’s going to help us when we have our big game against Victory Christian,” Lord said. “They are trying to get better every play, because they know that we are up against a giant this week.”
The Warriors, heavily favored to win on the day that their new field will be dedicated, also are pumped for the game, which will feature many familiar faces from around town lining up against one another.
“Playing a team within Winter Garden is something special,” West Orange head coach Bob Head said. “I think that our guys are going to be amped and ready to play — it’s a home opener.”
Head’s Warriors played last year’s runner-up in Class 7A, Osceola (now competing in Class 8A), in their Aug. 21 kickoff classic. West Orange ended up battling the Kowboys to a draw in the most high-profile preseason contest of the night, with the veteran coach taking away some positives and negatives from the evening.
“I didn’t like some of the things that we did, letting them sustain drives, and we had two three-and-outs and that bothered me,” Head said. “I think we got a lot out of it.”
Foundation whooped Landmark Christian, 42-0, in a game that lasted just a quarter before lightning and rain prompted the officials to call the contest. Where Landmark had been a formidable program in years past, Lord expressed some disappointment his team didn’t get as much of a test in the preseason as he would have liked and that the shortened game did not allow him to get his underclassmen valuable field time.
Nevertheless, Lord — who coached for Head while Head was at Olympia — and his program are excited for the challenge of taking on one of Class 8A’s elite programs.
“It’s great that you have two schools in Winter Garden that — and I don’t want to jinx us — but I think we both have shots at bringing a state championship home to Winter Garden,” Lord said. “I really do.”
IF YOU GO
Battle of Winter Garden: Foundation Academy at West Orange
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Raymond Screws Field at West Orange High School, 1625 Beulah Road, Winter Garden
UPDATES: Follow us on Twitter at @ObserverPreps for live score updates.