WINTER GARDEN -- The opening kickoff return to the opponent's 22 set the tone for West Orange High in trouncing Winter Park 42-14 Sept. 4 at Raymond Screws Field.
"We didn't play crisp, and we didn't play the way we were supposed to, but we obviously played hard and beat them the way we should," head coach Bob Head said. "We owed them something, and we got it back."
The Warriors lost to the Wildcats in the playoffs in 2013, a theme of revenge West Orange used all week, Head said.
The first measure of vengeance took just two plays, as quarterback Woody Barrett lobbed a 22-yard fade pass to receiver Eddie McDoom for a touchdown on the Warriors' first play from scrimmage.
The West Orange defense plugged Winter Park's renowned rushing attack most of the game, quickly forcing punts and giveaways on brief Wildcat drives.
"They have some really good running backs -- they always do," Head said. "They always run the ball really hard -- I expected that. I expected quick passes and then running the ball. We bended but didn't break."
Barrett scrambled 53 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter to give West Orange a 13-7 lead and start a string of five straight Warrior touchdowns, including another Barrett run just three minutes later for about 22 yards.
Long returns on Antonio Owens' fumble recovery and Decary Croaker's interception were among many momentum-shifting Warrior takeaways, both setting up touchdown runs.
"Those guys fly around, make plays -- I expect that," Head said of his defense.
The first resulting touchdown rush was by Darlens Mathieu, and the latter was by Darian Williams, who ran in the Warriors' final two touchdowns.
Penalties, missed field goals, ball security and tackling were aspects Head said he wanted his team to work on heading into its renewed rivalry with Dr. Phillips Sept. 11 at Raymond Screws Field.
"I don't like turning the ball over," Head said. "I just want to protect the football and make sure -- if we got to punt the ball, we punt it. We don't turn the ball over. Make that team earn it."