West Orange football wins Florida Gators Swamp Shootout 7-on-7 tournament

After falling behind in both the semifinals and finals, the Warriors claimed the Gator head trophy.

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After going down early in both the semifinals and championship games, West Orange High football rallied both times and won the University of Florida's Swamp Shootout 7-on-7 tournament.

"It was a situation where in years past we've kind of struggled offensively, in terms of being able to generate points when needed and it really falling on the defensive shoulders ... it was kind of the mentality that if we got scored upon we were in trouble," West Orange coach Geno Thompson said. "So when we ended up going down, 6-0, in both first drives of the semifinals and finals, but our offense came back and just fought. We ended up scoring 21 points in the championship game."

The Warriors topped Thomas County Central High (GA) — which finished the 2023 season undefeated (15-0) and won the 6A Georgia state championship — in the finals by a score of 21-12. 

On its way to the finals, West Orange also defeated Port St. Lucie High, East River High and Buchholz High.

"AJ Chung is an incoming freshman, who did a phenomenal job leading us from the quarterback position," Thompson said. "He had a lot of poise under pressure, putting the ball exactly where it needs to be. Our receivers did a phenomenal job catching the ball. That group included Brian Dillard, who had a breakout game and is a phenomenal athlete. He's going to be someone who's going to get a lot of touches for us this year and is going to be a game-changer for sure. Edison Delgado, who's a rising junior slot receiver for us, did a phenomenal job in terms of crossing the middle and making some big-time plays." 

Beyond the standouts on offense, the Warriors' defense — led by its defensive backfield — was who we thought they were again. 

"We had a couple of guys going both ways in Devin Jackson and Devonte Anderson, both of which have Florida offers, with Devonte getting offered there at the 7-on-7 after his performance," Thompson said. "After Devonte got two interceptions on defense the UF coaches came over and offered him. He went back and forth on offense and defense and made game-changing plays on both sides. And Ivan Taylor, who's committed to Notre Dame, made some crucial interceptions versus in the semis which kind of sealed the deal for that win for us." 

Anderson's offer from the Gators makes him the third member of the Warriors secondary — along with Ivan Taylor and Devin Jackson — to be courted by Florida coach Billy Napier and his staff.



Sam Albuquerque

A native of João Pessoa, Brazil, Sam Albuquerque moved in 1997 to Central Florida as a kid. After earning a communications degree in 2016 from the University of Central Florida, he started his career covering sports as a producer for a local radio station, ESPN 580 Orlando. He went on to earn a master’s degree in editorial journalism from Northwestern University, before moving to South Carolina to cover local sports for the USA Today Network’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his lovely wife, Sarah, newborn son, Noah, and dog named Skulí.

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