Olympia High’s football team took its lumps during the opening three games, but the Titans felt considerably better about their situation after Friday’s 39-point home victory.
Olympia successfully kicked off its Class 8A, District 5 schedule with a 42-3 win over Windermere High. The Titans enjoyed a breakout performance on offense as senior quarterback Garrett Velin threw five touchdown passes —including a pair to Victor Jones Jr. during a pivotal second quarter — and ran for another score.
The Titans (1-3) outscored Windermere 35-0 over the final two-and-a-half quarters after they managed a combined 13 points against West Orange, Ocoee and state-ranked Wekiva to begin the season. The performance proved that much more impressive considering Olympia was on the field for the second time in five days — as was the case for Orange County Public Schools programs in lieu of Hurricane Dorian — having played at Wekiva on Monday, Sept. 9.
Defense and special teams also played key roles in Olympia’s first overall win. The Titans tackled well throughout in keeping Windermere (1-2, 0-1) out of the end zone, while Colby Kintner converted all seven of his extra points.
“When I made the schedule, I scheduled those tough three games at the start and we played those teams tough. We just didn’t play them tough for four quarters,” Olympia head coach Travis Gabriel said. “But it was all about preparation and building character for what’s about to happen. Our goal has always been about the district and we just want to continue to get better as a group, and I think these boys are staying together and sticking with each other.”
Olympia opened the scoring late in the first quarter on Donrick Means’ leaping catch in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown. Velin’s long completion down the sideline to Jones helped set up the play.
The Titans led Windermere 7-3 nearing the midpoint of the second quarter. Olympia’s offense was pinned inside its 20-yard line, but Jones turned a short reception into an 83-yard catch-and-run touchdown at the 6:21 mark that squarely put momentum in the Titans’ favor.
O.J. Havens intercepted a Wolverines pass shortly thereafter and that led to Velin’s 34-yard touchdown to Jones with 4:58 remaining before halftime.
Leading 21-3 at intermission, Olympia enjoyed great field position in the second half.
Velin scrambled to his right on a 2nd-and-17 play and threw back across the field to Bryant Casteel for a 34-yard touchdown with 9:28 left in the third quarter. Just over four minutes later, Velin’s 15-yard TD pass to Isaiah Davis capped a drive that featured Kye Rivers’ 25-yard run.
Velin added a short touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to start a running clock.
“In order to be a successful team, you’ve got to take care of the smaller things and I think we did that fairly well tonight,” Gabriel said. “We took care of the smaller things and the results happened, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Gabriel Bertolazzo kicked a 22-yard field goal for Windermere, which finished Friday’s game without its top two running backs including injured junior Jordan Dozier. Stone Rivers exited early in the second quarter against Olympia after taking a hard hit along the sideline.
The Wolverines host Timber Creek next Friday, Sept. 20, while Olympia has a bye week to prepare for district foe Oak Ridge on Sept. 27.