WINTER GARDEN If you were running late, you might have missed the fun.
For a second consecutive week, the West Orange Warriors came out of the gate in such dominant fashion that the game was decided by halftime.
A week ago, in their regular season finale, the Warriors held a 25-0 lead over Ocoee at the end of the first quarter. On Friday, in the opening round of the FHSAA Class 8A State Playoffs, West Orange (10-1) hung 42 points on the visiting Boone Braves — in the first half — en route to a 49-6 victory.
“We want to start strong," said senior receiver Eddie McDoom. "We just decided we’re going to step the game up a notch … we want to blow people out from the start. Our mentality coming into the game is just to dominate early."
Boone (6-5) got the ball first and the Warriors' defense immediately forced the first of many three-and-outs. On the ensuing drive, West Orange wasted no time in finding the end zone on a Woody Barrett keeper, following that scoring drive with a pair of field goals by junior kicker Colby Adamson.
Then the floodgates opened.
“We try to be all-business, all the time," head coach Bob Head said. "The main thing we try to do is start fast. We feed each other — if our defense gets a stop, it’s an extra possession for our offense."
The feeding off one another worked both ways, as the Warrior defense had another big night.
“The offense, they’ve been a big help," explained senior Decary Croaker, who had an interception in the first quarter. "With them scoring like that, it gets us more pumped to play better defense."
The second half started with a running clock and the team's second units got some valuable playing time — highlighted by a touchdown pass from backup quarterback Jacob Titus to receiver Nick Green.
When it had ended, and word spread that Apopka was on its way to victory in its regional quarterfinal matchup at Timber Creek, the Warriors were rewarded for their blowout playoff victory with something unusual — homework.
In his post-game speech, Head challenged his players to watch four hours of game film on the Blue Darters over the weekend as the team will now begin preparation for the two rivals' fourth meeting in two seasons Nov. 20.
It was an assignment the Warriors gladly accepted.
“I’m ready to (watch some film) and see what they’ve been up to," McDoom said. "I want to see what they have for us. I’m probably going to watch a lot more than (the required four hours)."