ORLANDO When The First Academy's 26-7 victory against Foundation Academy officially went final, it was just short of midnight in the City Beautiful.
After a lengthy weather delay that began in the first quarter and lasted nearly two hours, the two teams resumed play at 9:53 p.m. — making for a unique high-school football experience.
"This is the latest game — by far — that I've ever played," Royals head coach Leroy Kinard said. "The weather broke well for us — by the end, we didn't have any rain at all."
Kinard's Royals improved to 2-0 on the season in a wet game that saw some sloppy play from both sides as play drew nearer to the midnight hour. TFA was up 7-0 when play resumed after the delay and scored two touchdowns to create some distance from the Lions.
Then, on the final play of the first half, Foundation quarterback Henry Austad scrambled for a touchdown to cut the lead to 20-7 and thicken the plot entering the second half.
Both defenses dominated the rest of the way, though, with Parker Mara's 15-yard touchdown run for the Royals proving to be the only points of the second half.
Including The First Academy's Kickoff Classic win, Kinard now has seen his team prove victorious in a thriller, in a blowout, and now in a physical, uglier game — and the big takeaway for the veteran coach is his team has shown character.
"I just like who we have, as a team," Kinard said. "We really struggled throwing the ball because of the elements, and I liked that our guys competed."
The Royals (2-0) will travel to take on Orlando Christian Prep in Week Three (Sept. 8), while the Lions (0-2) will host Carrollwood Day. Both games are scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m.
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].