West Orange defeated Gainesville 38-28 May 27 with NaQuan Renalds and Kyveon Jones each hauling in a pair of touchdown receptions from the Warriors' new signal caller from Massachusetts.
WINTER GARDEN Coming to Central Florida from Massachusetts, there have been two big adjustments West Orange quarterback Austin Burton has had to make: playing football in the hot Florida sun, and adjusting his timing to his speedy new receivers.
Even after throwing for five touchdowns in the Warriors' 38-28 spring game victory over Gainesville May 27, the rising senior transfer wasn't ready to single one adjustment out as harder than the other.
"It's both," Burton said with a laugh. "The heat is tough — you go from 40 (degrees) to 95. That and the speed; these guys can fly."
Burton took advantage of his speedy corp of receivers, beginning with West Orange's fourth offensive possession.
After the Warriors had fallen behind 14-0 in the first quarter, Burton hooked up with Kyveon Jones for a 45-yard touchdown toss. That response was the beginning of a 35-point swing in favor of the Warriors, with Burton connecting for another touchdown pass with Jones, two touchdown passes to NaQuan Renalds and a fifth strike to DaShaun Collins.
"When we started putting up points everybody got excited," Renalds said. "Once Kyveon got his touchdown, I knew I was up next."
"We've got a lot of guys — a lot of guys that have played and a lot of guys that are fast. We've just got to get the ball in their hands in space."
Bob Head, coach
When the dust had settled, West Orange led 35-14 going into the fourth quarter, when backups and junior varsity players came on to finish out the contest. The dramatic swing in the Warriors' favor was highlighted by Burton's accurate passing and the ability of Renalds, Jones and Collins to turn on the jets for yards after the catch.
"We've got a lot of guys — a lot of guys that have played and a lot of guys that are fast," head coach Bob Head said. "We've just got to get the ball in their hands in space."
The offense outpouring was a nice debut not just for Burton, but also for new offensive coordinator Vernon Mitchell, who replaced former O.C. Collin Drafts.
The Warriors defense, which is replacing 10 starters from the 2015 team, recovered well after getting beat on deep balls for touchdowns on consecutive drives in the first quarter. The first team defense did not allow another scoring drive through the end of the third quarter.
"We came out a little flat," Head said of the defense. "They (Gainesville) exploited a young secondary. ... I'm proud of the way they battled and rebounded."
Though the Warriors' spring game certainly highlighted some areas for improvement, West Orange also demonstrated that it has no intention of taking a step backward after graduating a large and influential senior class from the 2015 season.
"We're basically rebuilding, but the expectation at West Orange is to reload," Head said. "Overall, we had a great spring."
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].