APOPKA Senior receiver Eddie McDoom scored three touchdowns in the first half and the West Orange Warriors made short work of the Wekiva Mustangs en route to securing back-to-back district championships for the first time in program history.
The one-sided, 36-14 affair Oct. 30 almost wasn't so when things took a dramatic turn in the Warriors' (8-1, 3-0 district) favor late in the second quarter.
After West Orange had taken a 14-0 lead, Wekiva had battled back and forced three consecutive turnovers on downs by the Warriors and scored a touchdown with a two-point conversion. A big stop by the West Orange defense, which was led all night by senior defensive back Ben Bollinger, meant the Warriors would get the ball back with 31 seconds left in the half — what would turn out to be plenty of time for quarterback Woody Barrett to find McDoom on a crossing route for six.
"I thought (that sequence) was big because (Wekiva) could have taken the lead before the half," head coach Bob Head said. "I was excited that we got a good drive right before halftime and got a quick score to Eddie — Eddie played an unbelievable game."
West Orange rolled that halftime momentum into a dominant second half that saw touchdowns from Darlens Mathieu and Barrett. With the victory, the Warriors swept district play and secured home-field advantage in the state playoffs.
"I told our team that our goal is to be district champs — we succeeded with that goal and I'm proud of that accomplishment," Head said. "Now it's just time to move forward."
The Warriors will host Boone, the runner-up in Class 8A, District 3, on Friday, Nov. 13. Before that, though, is a rivalry showdown with Ocoee (6-3) to conclude the regular season. With the Knights having a turnaround season under a new coach, Head stressed to his team in his postgame speech the importance of taking that contest seriously and not looking ahead to the playoffs.
"We dealt with it last year — we played Ocoee last year and they played us super tough," Head said. "We're just going to try and take it one day at a time."