Windermere Prep makes statement with win over Foundation Academy | Observer Preps

The Windermere Prep Lakers, who had yet to defeat the Lions in three previous meetings, rode a dominant defensive effort to victory over state-ranked Foundation Academy in Winter Garden Oct. 5.

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  • | 10:30 a.m. October 6, 2018
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There was a lot to absorb for the Windermere Prep football team after its thunderous 35-7 win over state-ranked Foundation Academy Oct. 5.

It was the first meeting between the two teams since 2013, when Foundation Academy won 38-6 in a game with relatively low stakes. This time around, both teams entered the game undefeated and the Lions were ranked No. 4 in the state in Class 2A and the Lakers are regarded as the team to beat in the Sunshine State Athletic Conference.

There was a buzz to this showdown, as local media — including several television stations — lined the sidelines at Foundation’s new on-campus field and the line of cars trying to get into the game backed out on to Tilden Road.

Finally, there was the context that in all three of the previous meetings between the two programs, it had been Foundation that had emerged victorious.

For Lakers head coach Jacob Doss, there was even more to absorb, and in a literal sense — the veteran coach had been drenched in Gatorade by his players following the big win. 

“It did mean a lot — Foundation is one of the best football teams, I think, in Central Florida,” Doss said as he dried off. “Every year they’re good. The fact that we’d never beaten them meant a lot. … You could see our boys took that upon themselves to really play for something bigger than them.”

In a battle of two of Central Florida’s best passing attacks, it was the defense for Windermere Prep (6-0) which shined brightest during the team’s big win. Once again, defensive coordinator Rob Hollway’s unit limited a strong scoring offense to well below its season average of 25.3 points per game beforehand.

“Any time we’re in a big game, Coach Hollway gets those boys so ready to play — they’re so aggressive,” Doss said. “We had two defenses in tonight with very aggressive schemes. … It was really fun to watch those guys pin their ears back and just go.”

In fact, it was a play by the Lakers’ defense that staved off the only momentum the Lions were able to put together. 

Danny Stutsman had recovered a botched punt snap by Windermere Prep at the 14-yard line, priming Foundation Academy for its first score — a touchdown pass from Henry Austad to Grayson Wagner. With the extra-point, that sequence cut the Lakers’ lead to 21-7 midway through the third quarter, and Foundation’s defense got a stop on the next drive to return the ball to the Lions.

A pass to a Foundation receiver in the flat was knocked loose, though, and Matthew Kane picked up the fumble for a 43-yard scoop-and-score touchdown that effectively closed the door on any comeback attempt the Lions might have mustered.

“The longer I’ve been in coaching, the more I realize momentum is everything,” Doss said. “Turnovers like that — they had the momentum and they’re clawing to get back in. We changed the momentum with a fumble like that and it’s back-breaking.”

For two teams that had not met in five years — meaning no current players were on the roster for the last meeting — the game had a physicality and intensity to it befitting of a rivalry.

“We knew we had to match their physicality and be better, because they’re a physical team,” Windermere Prep senior receiver Khadry Jackson said. “Every single play we had to be physical — we had to set the tone.”

For Windermere Prep, which has been at or around the top of the SSAC since 2014, the win was especially significant because of its implications — and the buzz.

“That’s a team that’s going to go on to the regional playoffs,” Doss said. “It was really cool to see the media here tonight — our boys were so pumped and when you play a team with Foundation’s reputation, that’s what you’re going to get.”

Foundation Academy had been state-ranked in Class 2A, and the win was a big statement for a program like Windermere Prep in the independent SSAC, which is sometimes viewed as a lesser brand of football.

“I think we just showed that just because we play in the SSAC doesn’t mean that we can’t compete,” Jackson said. “I played at Olympia and I played here. There’s a lot of guys on our team that are physical — and physicality, speed and athleticism are good at any school in Florida.”


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