After win margins this season of 48, 40, 42 and 49 points, the Windermere Prep Lakers finally got tested in Week Five — and the Lakers (5-0) responded as well as head coach Jacob Doss could have hoped.
Windermere Prep scored a go-ahead touchdown with about two minutes to play against host St. Edward’s of Vero Beach, and its defense held off the Pirates’ final drive to seal the 36-32 victory.
“We were tested by a tough, tough group,” Doss said of a back-and-forth affair. “I thought our team did a really good job of facing that adversity. … It was hard for us to tell who our team (was) before this game.”
The game marked the first time this season the Lakers score fewer than 40 points. Down the stretch, Doss said it was Windermere Prep’s defense that shined brightest in shutting down the St. Edward’s rush when it mattered most.
“Our defense was the one that ultimately won this game,” Doss said. “Our defense kept making plays.”
The Lakers now will face a stiff challenge for a second consecutive week when they travel to nearby take on nearby Legacy Charter (3-1) in Ocoee.
The Lakers are averaging 47.2 points per game this fall, making them the perfect challenge for a Legacy defense that is allowing just 15 points per game. Eagles quarterback Gehrig Chambless will have his work cut out for him eluding a WPS defense that is averaging better than two sacks per contest.
Shades of 2014?
Speaking of the Lakers, Windermere Prep’s undefeated run to start the season sure is reminiscent of the program’s undefeated season in 2014 that won it its first Sunshine State Athletic Conference Championship.
Through five games that season, the Lakers scored 283 points to opponents’ 90 points with an average margin of victory of 38.6 points. This year, Windermere Prep has scored slight fewer points (236) but also has allowed fewer (53). The margin of victory is only marginally smaller at 36.6 — and that number is slightly skewed by the four-point victory against St. Edward’s in Week Five.
Beyond the number, though, head coach Jacob Doss said the similarities are most pronounced when examining each unit’s chemistry. This year’s squad, in particular, has been together for several road trips to start the season.
“As much time as we’ve all spent together, you just create a bond,” Doss said. “These two teams (2014 and 2016) are very similar in how much they like to hang out together.”
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].