Behind big plays from players like Sean Johnson Jr and Terrence Mosley II, the Royals exploded for 49 first half points before going on to claim the win.
It has been a long wait for The First Academy and Windermere Prep football teams, but their patience finally paid off on Friday night.
In front of a crowd at the Austin-Tindell Sports Complex in Kissimmee, The First Academy (1-0) wasted no time celebrating the return of football — and senior night for both schools — as the Royals founds their groove quickly in a season opening 56-22 win over Windermere Prep (0-1) on Friday, Oct. 2.
“It has been 11 months since we’ve gotten an opportunity to play football,” said Royals head coach Leroy Kinard. “And it just feels good to just get out and have some sense of normalcy, so I was really happy for the guys who came out and played tonight.”
Game Two of a doubleheader — Lake Highland Prep played Trinity Prep in the opener — the game itself started late, but that didn’t throw off either offenses to start the game.
Less than two minutes into the game, Dinari Bennett’s 5-yard run pushed the Royals ahead early, but on the following kickoff Jackson Bennett would go to the house on a long touchdown run. The successful two-point conversion the Lakers ahead 8-7 with 9:50 left in the opening quarter.
Over the span of the rest of the quarter, the Lakers and Royals exchanged blows as the teams exchanged leads three times — TFA took a 14-8 lead after a 48-yard run by Josua Gannaway; then the Lakers retook a lead on a 50-yard touchdown by Zane Fullmer; and finally TFA retook the lead for good with a 15-yard run by Terrence Mosley II.
The Royals would begin to open things up in the second quarter when Sean Johnson Jr. hit Camp Magee on a 37-yard toss. Johnson would account for two more touchdowns later in the second quarter — with a 54-yard touchdown run and a 57-yard toss to Magee again — and finished the night with 91 rushing yards on four carries.
Windermere Prep would score in the second quarter — a short toss from Zane Fullmer to Jacob Lowe — but the Royals went into the half up 49-22.
“I think what happened with them is that they were low on numbers, and anytime you play against our style of offense — and you don't have a lot of numbers — at some point it is going to catch you,” Kinard said. “So they end up cramping a little bit — they have a couple of guys dinged — and all of a sudden you’re playing with backups or young guys, and they’re just not ready yet.
“Their coaching staff does a great job, but they just ran out of gas,” he said.
The Royals would get one last score when Dinari Bennett went to the house on a long punt return, while the TFA defense would shut out the Lakers for the rest of the game on their way to the 56-22 win.
Next up for the Royals is a matchup with Lake Highland Prep (1-0), while the Lakers will take on Trinity Prep — both game are Friday, Oct. 9, and kickoff is 6 p.m. for Windermere Prep and 7 p.m. for TFA.
“They (Lake Highland Prep) won as well — I think they put up 50 as well,” Kinard said. “So it could be a 50-49 game, who knows?”