WINTER GARDEN After a four-game losing streak against some of the best teams in the area, Foundation Academy won three straight games, including a 35-6 blowout of Jordan Christian Preparatory Oct. 9 at Walker Field.
In each game, the Lions (3-4, 1-0) have steadily improved, head coach Brad Lord said.
"We ran the ball well," Lord said of the Homecoming triumph over the Seahawks. "Defensively, we were studs. They had some good athletes; we kept our composure."
Breakout sophomore Konrie Brown contributed to both those aspects of the game, trucking opponents on both sides of the ball en route to a 143-yard, two-touchdown performance. Senior Gabe Walker also rushed for more than 100 yards for the fourth straight game and scored a touchdown.
These positives should benefit the Lions as they enter the week in which they play the defending state champion, Victory Christian Academy.
"Whoever wins it will be in control of the district," Lord said. "It's all about district play. ... We've set ourselves up for where we want to be (with our schedule). It does make us better."
But after Foundation took an early 20-0 lead, the team became lax and lost focus, leading to numerous penalties and an effort coaches called sloppy and said would be difficult to beat district rival Victory with.
Standout quarterback, mike linebacker and senior leader Jacob Murphy is out for the season with a torn ACL, so Foundation will need to rely on a newcomer to lead its offense, Lord said. He said communication between receivers and freshman quarterback Elijah Stimmell would be a key improvement heading into a war with Victory Oct. 16 at Walker Field.
"You can't replace Jacob Murphy -- he's a warrior," Lord said. "But (Stimmell) stepped in nicely this week and managed the game -- didn't throw any turnovers or fumble the ball. Elijah Stimmell's going to be a very good quarterback. I thought he handled himself with poise tonight for his first start."
A physical effort in practice and a defense that has been strong all year will be what the Lions lean on against Victory, he said.
"Monday and Tuesday are going to be very physical days for us," Lord said. "We're going to be on hills; we're going to be hitting; we're going to be crawling; we're going to get mean -- we weren't that mean (against the Seahawks). We outmanned them."
For Lord to be satisfied against Victory, his team will need to be perfect, he said.
"I don't want laziness," he told his team after the Jordan game. "I don't want missteps. I don't want missed blocks. I want perfection, and you're good enough to do it."