Only five miles separate the campuses of West Orange High School and Windermere High School, but on the football field the distance between teams is overwhelming.
Since Windermere (0-3) first fielded a team back in 2017, the Wolverines have only played the Warriors (2-1) twice — the first being a 70-0 loss in 2017, and the second being last night’s 62-0 blowout loss at West Orange.
On its senior night — in front of decent crowd, a roaring band and the lively Warriorettes and cheer squads — West Orange didn’t hold back in a game that was all Warriors on Friday, Oct. 9.
“I thought we did what we were coached to do all week,” said West Orange head coach Mike Granato. “I’m really proud of the kids for coming out and executing. I know they have a young team and they're building their program and so are we.
“We’re close, we’re not that far away and it needs to be — in the coming years — a serious rival game,” he said. “I know coach (Rob Couch) over there — we’ve already spoken and we’re going to do whatever we can to get each other better in the offseason.”
The scoring for West Orange started early, as the Warriors easily stormed down field on a drive that was capped off with a 6-yard touchdown run by Joanes Polynice Jr. less than four minutes into the game.
“I thought we did what we were coached to do all week. I’m really proud of the kids for coming out and executing. I know they have a young team and they're building their program and so are we.”
— Mike Granato, WOHS head coach
What followed that first touchdown was an absolute score-fest, as the Warriors racked up 28 points — which included a 2-yard rushing score from Terrell Walden, a 35-yard bomb from Tyler Huff to Jahshari Jones and an 86-yard rushing touchdown by Polynice.
Meanwhile, on defense, the Warriors’ stymied the Wolverines at every turn and forced multiple turnovers — including a drive-killing interception of Windermere quarterback Ryan Flournoy in the red zone by Lexus Jones just before the end of the first quarter.
Windermere would get its best scoring chance of the night following a big toss from Flournoy to Cody Arnold helped set the Wolverines up at the Warriors’ 1-yard line with about nine minutes left in the first half. But two fumbles — both recovered by Windermere — and two incomplete passes would hand the ball back over to the Warriors.
That would be the last threat the Wolverines posed, as the Warriors utilized their explosive offense and crushing defense to push their lead to 48-0 by halftime.
The second half was a continuation of the first, as the Warriors picked up two more scores — including a 95-yard touchdown by Matthew McDoom on the half’s opening kickoff that gave the junior his second score of the night — to induce a running clock to hasten up the Warriors’ 62-0 victory.
“I’m extremely proud for the seniors,” Granato said. “The seniors have been through miles of adversity the last couple of years, so for them to come out on senior night and have a good time playing this great game, that means everything. I’m glad we were able to come out with a W.”
Both teams will return to action Friday, Oct. 16, as West Orange hosts Apopka, while Windermere travels to East Ridge.