OCOEE The Ocoee Knights completed an undefeated run through Class 7A, District 4 Oct. 27 with a 41-0 victory over visiting Lake Minneola.
The rout of the Hawks improved the Knights (6-3) to 6-0 in district play, just two weeks after Ocoee clinched its first district title in the history of the modern high school.
And, though winning the district was a goal for head coach Ben Bullock’s program entering fall camp, doing it in such fashion — the Knights have outscored opponents in 7A-4 206-59 — was a pleasant surprise.
“Was (going undefeated in district play) something that we shot for? That wasn’t one of the team goals that our kids put up there — but it’s definitely great to see that we kept improving as we went through the season,” Bullock said. “We wanted to win the district title, no matter what that took. … But it is special for the kids that we went undefeated.
“A lot of people are very, very excited about it.”
The win for the Knights comes a week after they were humbled at home by Wekiva, which clinched its own playoff berth with a 49-20 win over West Orange Oct. 20. The loss to the Mustangs ended a five-game winning streak for Ocoee, and Bullock was pleased with the way his team responded to the adversity the loss posed.
“We didn’t execute very well against them (Wekiva), and we were playing a very good team,”
Bullock said. “I told the kids before the (Lake Minneola) game, ‘I don’t care what the score is — I want to see a clean game.’”
Bullock got the clean game that he sought out as the Knights shutout Lake Minneola and, on offense, junior running back surpassed 1,000-rushing yards for the season.
Now, Ocoee is looking to beat rival West Orange and retain “The Shield” for the first time since 2009.
“This is like the first round of the playoffs — that’s the atmosphere we need to have and the approach we need to take,” Bullock said, referencing how his team will approach the rivalry game that comes a week ahead of a playoff home game. “That’s the big thing for me is to make sure we’re peaking at the right time.”
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].