LAKELAND Foundation Academy’s varsity football team will have to hit the reset button after hopes of a district championship all but slipped away Friday night.
The Lions committed six turnovers in a 24-16 setback to state-ranked Victory Christian at Southeastern University’s Victory Field. Foundation is likely headed for a runner-up finish in Class 2A, District — which still enables the Lions to reach the Florida High School Athletic Association state playoffs for the third straight season — considering Victory Christian will be an overwhelming favorite against Cornerstone Charter Academy on Oct. 27 in the district finale for both schools.
“We’re physical enough to play with that team, but we can’t make mistakes like that,” Foundation head coach Brad Lord said. “Bottom line is, six turnovers cost us a game. I thought we moved the ball pretty good on them [the Storm], and I thought defensively we gave up big plays but we held tough.”
Victory Christian, which was No. 2 in this week’s Associated Press Class 2A state poll, and Foundation combined for 10 total turnovers. The game was also slowed by a myriad of penalties that included a pair of Victory Christian player ejections.
Foundation (4-4, 1-1) drove 70 yards on its opening possession for an 8-0 lead. Jacob Titus threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Luke Chase, while Evan Thompson took a direct snap and ran in a 2-point conversion with 9:26 remaining in the first quarter. The Storm (6-0, 1-0) rallied for a 17-8 halftime lead as Foundation turned the ball over four times in the second quarter, once inside the Victory Christian 10-yard line.
Foundation’s sixth and final turnover led to Jayrd Alexander’s 14-yard touchdown run with 10:39 left. However, Thompson recovered a Victory Christian fumble with 3:27 to go and the Lions drove 70 yards with Titus scoring from 1 yard and Jaquane Patterson adding a 2-point conversion to bring the Lions within eight at the1:20 mark.
The Lions attempted an onside kick, but Victory Christian recovered at its own 47-yard line and ran out the remaining time.
Titus finished 10-of-19 passing for a season-high 162 yards and Chase had five catches for 99 yards. Patterson helped pace the Lions running game with 92 yards on 18 carries.
The Lions stay on the road in Week 9 when they travel to the Jacksonville area next Friday for a non-district game against Harvest Community School.