WINTER GARDEN Brad Lord’s voice wavered for a moment as he talked to his team.
“Seven years ago, I was told we could not compete in district play — we were too small of a school,” Lord said. “(I was told) that we didn’t have enough good football players here, and we had to play in the little Sunshine (State Athletic) Conference.”
Lord insisted on his Foundation Academy Lions playing in district competition seven years ago, though, and it paid off Nov. 13.
In Friday’s 38-18 victory over Warner Christian in the regional semifinals of the Class 2A State Tournament, the Lions (7-4) got their first playoff victory in school history.
“We have a very good team,” Lord said. “I expected it.”
The victory means Foundation will play Victory Christian (6-5), last year’s Class 2A state champion, this week at home.
Foundation faced Victory earlier this season and beat Victory 34-28, but went into overtime to do so. Lord knows his team will have to be focused to beat a good team twice in one season, but knows how to prepare the team.
“We’ll do what we’ve done all year,” he said. “We’ll go to work hard Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, ease off on Thursday. Our boys work hard. They’ve bought into it.”
But he’s not underestimating Victory Christian.
“Tommy Lewis from Victory Christian is a fantastic coach,” Lord said. “It’s a pretty heated rivalry, so it should be a real crazy here (Nov. 20).”
In last week’s game, Foundation Academy had a strong rushing game, moving a total of 545 yards on the ground, alone. Konrie Brown rushed for 215 yards, Jaquan Patterson compiled 138 yards, and Gabe Walker added 135.
“I was hungry for success tonight,” said Patterson, who scored two touchdowns.
Warner opened the night with a touchdown but did not score again in the first half, as Foundation scored 31 points in the first half alone. In the second half, many players for the Lions came off the bench to get playing time. Warner scored two more touchdowns, while Foundation scored one.
“We got sloppy in the second half,” Lord said. “I’m not putting that on players. I’m putting it on our coaching staff.
“We’re going to have to get a lot more precise and have everything perfect for Victory Christian next week.”
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected].