A five -touchdown night from quarterback Henry Austad led the Lions to their sixth win of the season.
Coming into Friday’s game against Windermere Prep, Foundation Academy Head Coach Brad Lord knew what he wanted out of his players: Precision.
After a sloppy win last week against The First Academy — which saw Foundation squeak out a 21-14 win — Lord was looking to avoid mistakes, and his Lions responded with a 52-14 win over the Lakers Friday, Oct. 4.
“We had our best week of practice of the year,” Lord said. “But it was a good win, and it was a clean win — we didn't turn the ball over and we only had two or three penalties. Against TFA we made that game closer than it should (have been)… we got sloppy.”
The Lions (6-1) were anything but sloppy, as they dominated on both sides of the ball against the Lakers (1-5).
Defensively the Lions saw big games from Braden Holcomb (one interception, one fumble recovery, six tackles) and Dominic Zagame (one caused fumble, four tackles). The Lions defense also recorded three sacks on the afternoon — one each for Danny Stutsman, Ethan Terrell and Reggie Jean.
Offensively the game begins and ends with quarterback Henry Austad, who was pass happy against a struggling secondary — tossing for 345 yards and five touchdowns on 18-of-22 passing. Each touchdown made it into the hands of a different receiver, as Matt Puchalski, Travis Hutchinson, Stutsman, Tate Ewing and Holcomb all picked up scores.
But it was the leg of kicker Mykal Chan who kicked off the afternoon’s scoring onslaught with a 22-yard field goal five minutes into the game.
“We had our best week of practice of the year. But it was a good win, and it was a clean win — we didn't turn the ball over and we only had two or three penalties."
— Brad Lord
The stop on third down to hold the Lions to a field goal would be the only real sign of life from the Lakers’ defense, as from there the Lions would explode on offense — jumping out to a 31-0 lead thanks to a 46-yard bomb from Austad to Puchalski, a 3-yard touchdown run by Bryan Thomas, a 4-yard touchdown run by Terrell and a 60-yard heave from Austad to Hutchinson.
The Lakers would finally get on the scoreboard in the second quarter, when quarterback Cole Nabavi hit Matt Kane for a 40-yard pass for the touchdown. A successful two-point conversion would cut the Lions’ lead to 31-8 with 3:06 left in the half.
A little over two minutes later the Lakers would respond in kind with another score of their own — this time a 15-yard touchdown pass from Austad to Stutsman. The Lions almost scored once more before the half, after the Lakers failed to convert a fourth down, but Chan’s 29-yard field goal would be no good — the Lions would take their 38-8 lead into the locker room.
“Austad was unbelievable tonight,” Lord said. “And our offensive line did a fantastic job. I think he (Austad) may have had pressure (on) one play.”
In the second half Lord began putting in backups midway through the third quarter, while a running clock helped speed up the game.
Austad would continue his groove, however, by tossing a pair of touchdowns in the second half — one to Ewing five minutes into the third quarter and another to Holcomb in the fourth.
Despite being down 52-8, the Lakers never quit on each other and continued to play hard.
Players like senior captain Ross Fournet had a big day on both sides of the ball, while Jackson Bennett racked up big return after big return against the Lions’ special teams.
The grit and determination would pay off one last time for the Lakers on a big 75-yard touchdown toss from Nabavi to Bennett in the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score at 52-14.
While Windermere Prep has some time to get themselves together before this upcoming Friday, the Lakers will host a 6-1 Mount Dora Christian Academy team that has been crushing teams left and right. Meanwhile, Foundation Academy will be taking on one of the top teams in the state in University Christian (5-1) out of Jacksonville.
“They’re a very good team, but we feel like we are too,” Lord said. “We get University and then we have a tough Orangewood team to play the following week. We’re just trying to get better every week.”