GAME OF THE WEEK: Windermere Prep faces Foundation

At 1-4, Windermere Prep has had a challenging season. However, the Lakers do have youth on their side, which bodes well for the future.

At 1-4, Windermere Prep has had a challenging season. However, the Lakers do have youth on their side, which bodes well for the future.
At 1-4, Windermere Prep has had a challenging season. However, the Lakers do have youth on their side, which bodes well for the future.
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The Windermere Preparatory School football team is going through a challenging year as it has been introducing several of its players to the sport in 2023.

“We have like 10 seniors,” head football coach Brian Simmons said. “We have a bunch of kids who’ve never really played football before, so that’s always a challenge. So, trying to mesh them in with the guys who have played, the guys who are more physically advanced and just trying to mesh them in to be a team.” 

Currently, the Lakers own a 1-4 overall season record. Its lone win came Sept. 29 — a 8-7 victory at Cocoa Beach.

“We’ve shown that we can do things right and do them well,” Simmons said. “The problem, especially with younger guys, is being able to do that consistently. So, we’ve been able to make plays offensively to move the ball, and then we’ll have a penalty or a bad play. So, it’s like every time we go for like two or three steps, then we’ll come back, and what I try to make them understand is that sometimes you are good enough to overcome bad plays and bad situations, but we are not. 

“So … there is no perfect, I understand that,” he said. “But, we’ve got to be as close to perfect (as possible). We can’t have any self-inflicted wounds. The other team is going to make plays, we’ve got to realize that, so we can’t go out there and give them plays, and we’ve done that so many times this year.” 

While the Lakers offense has struggled to put points on the board (it only posted more than 12 points once in a 24-22 loss Oct. 6 to Lake Highland Prep), the defense has shown it can hang. No team has scored more than 28 points against Windermere Prep so far this season.

“Even though if teams are able to move the football on us, we usually do a pretty good job of keeping them out of the end zone,” Simmons said. 

Through practice and repetition week after week, the Lakers continue to work on developing their playbook and finding that connection as a team. 

“I feel like this year is different than last year,” defensive back and wide receiver Braden Haas said. “We don’t have much depth on the team. So, I feel like this year, we’ve been having to put in a lot more effort and grow closer as a team, being more aggressive on the field. So, I feel like growing that trust with (one another) on the field to execute our jobs and just knowing that when we execute our jobs, we are going to get the job done.” 

The upperclassmen have assumed the roles of mentors for their younger teammates.

“I guess that going from freshman to senior, we’ve had that leadership given to us, so we try to do the same thing,” Haas said. “When the younger kids … mess up, they usually get in their heads, so we just got to know the next-play mentality and trying to let them know that it’s OK to make mistakes and that just moving on is the only way you can improve.” 

Moving forward, Windermere Prep is focused on staying healthy and having fun every week under the lights. The Lakers are excited to host Foundation Academy Thursday, Oct. 19. At 4-3, the Lions are a tough test, and the team’s high-scoring offense (Foundation hasn’t scored fewer than 32 points in a game all season) will be a big test for the young Lakers.

“We’ve got a couple of guys (who) we are trying to rest and get healthy,” Simmons said. “That’s the man thing: being able to go into that game healthy. And then, also, doing some tackling stuff, because Foundation is a physical team. They are going to play hard, and we understand that. So, that’s really the thing — trying to get healthy and then also trying to have the right mindset that when we play those guys, understanding that it’s going to be a physical football game, so (we are just) getting the guys ready for that.” 



Andrea Mujica

Staff writer Andrea Mujica covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida. When she’s not on the sidelines, you can find Andrea coaching rowers at the Orlando Area Rowing Society in Windermere.

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