SIDELINE SCENE: Turnaround season for Ocoee adds to interest in annual Shield Game

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  • | 7:16 p.m. November 5, 2015
SIDELINE SCENE: Turnaround season for Ocoee adds to interest in annual Shield Game
SIDELINE SCENE: Turnaround season for Ocoee adds to interest in annual Shield Game
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WEST ORANGE  In the history of the Shield Game, the annual football rivalry showdown between the West Orange Warriors and Ocoee Knights, there’s been just two close games.

The second and third times the two programs met, in 2006 and 2007, the Knights eked out wins — a 30-27 win the first time the two met in Ocoee, and a 14-13 victory on the Warriors’ home the next season.

They were the first and second of what would become four consecutive wins for the Knights in the series — Ocoee’s only four wins against its rival.

Excluding those anomalies, though, the average margin of victory has been 22.8 points.

West Orange leads the all-time series, 6-4. Current seniors have partaken in a rivalry which has seen the Warriors win by an average of 30.7 points per game.

I don’t know that this will be the year the rivalry regains what it had those two years with thrilling finishes to exciting games. Yes, Ocoee (6-3) has tripled its win total from 2014 and seems like a new program under first-year coach Ben Bullock. The Knights have a winning season for the first time since 2009, and their most recent wins — against Wekiva and Lake Minneola — have been their most impressive.

Still, West Orange is one of the top teams not just regionally, but in the state. Humbled by a loss to a very good Trinity Christian team earlier this season, the Warriors (8-1) are not likely to overlook anyone. In the moments after West Orange defeated Wekiva on Oct. 30 to lock up back-to-back district championships, coach Bob Head reminded his team that it still had one more game before its road through the Class 8A State Playoffs begins on Nov. 13.

Again, I don’t know that Friday’s game will be good.

I do know this, though. West Orange has built a powerhouse and figures to be among the area’s best for seasons to come. And Ocoee, for the first time in a while, feels like it is truly heading in the right direction.

So whether it’s this year, next year or the year after that, I’m optimistic that this rivalry just might position itself as one of the region’s best.


2014: West Orange 50, Ocoee 18

2013: West Orange 39, Ocoee 0

2012: West Orange 21, Ocoee 0

2011: West Orange 20, Ocoee 6

2010: West Orange 38, Ocoee 19

2009: Ocoee 43, West Orange 0

2008: Ocoee 21, West Orange 7

2007: Ocoee 14, West Orange 13

2006: Ocoee 30, West Orange 27

2005: West Orange 23, Ocoee 0


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