Week after week, game after game, the Ocoee High School football team continues to write more pages into the school’s history books.
For the first time in the history of Knights Nation, the team became regional champions — for Region 2 — and one of the Final Four teams that are still in the pursuit of the FHSAA state championship title. Ocoee defeated 11-1 East Lake High School 43-19 at the regional final game Friday, Nov. 25.
“It’s been amazing,” Ocoee High School Athletic Director Bill Alderman said. “Obviously, this has been the first playoff run we’ve had, the first regional championship. Even at East Lake, we had people (from Ocoee) that came to their first Ocoee football game ever to watch it. That’s how big it’s been for the community.”
The support the boys — and coaching staff — have received after their regional win last week, according to Alderman, has been incredible.
“We’ve had all the city commissioners and the mayor call in today trying to congratulate the coaches and the players,” Alderman said. “It’s been overwhelming the amount of support we’ve been getting without even looking for it. They are calling looking for us.”
Not only were the Knights able to push through and make history after winning their first playoff game, but also they continue to hustle in every moment.
For the Knights, every time is “Go Time.”
Part of the success, Alderman said, comes from the culture and the changes in the program that head football coach Aaron Sheppard has implemented this year and all the adjustments that have been made to have a more competitive football team.
“The players are buying into what the coaches are saying,” Alderman said. “They are coming in at 5:40 in the morning sometimes to practice. They’ve bought into everything coach Sheppard has brought … in terms of culture and program, and this is their reward for trusting their coach.”
The school will gather at the bus loop at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2, to send the team off as it heads to Miami to face Columbus High School.