A Patriots' touchdown with 7.2 seconds left in the game sunk the Warriors on senior night.
For the second week in-a-row West Orange was on the wrong end of a tough loss — this time it was a 28-21 defeat at the hands of Lake Brantley Thursday, Oct. 17, in the dying seconds of the game.
After being set up inside the 5-yard line thanks to a 23-yard screen pass from Lake Brantley quarterback Noah Hudak to Mason Norwood, Hudak would crash past the Warriors for a 1-yard touchdown with just 7.2 seconds.
An extra point by Robert Soto, and an interception on a prayer tossed up by Warriors’ quarterback Tyler Huff later would seal up the 28-21 district win for the Patriots (5-3, 2-2). The loss for the Warriors (4-4, 2-2) was the second in-a-row against a team that runs a unique offense, which is always tough said Warriors Interim Head Coach Mike McGlynn.
“Obviously when you’re facing a team like (Lake) Brantley that runs that style of offense (triple option) every possession is crucial,” McGlynn said. “Not capitalizing in the red zone — inside the 10-yard line — on our first possession was a waste for us, because when you’re playing a team like that obviously you’d like to get up on them, so you can get them out of what they want to do, which is run the ball.”
That first drive for the Warriors would end with missed field goal from 22-yards out by Riley Boyd, but it wouldn't take long before West Orange would find themselves back in scoring position.
With 5:36 left in the first quarter, a bad handoff by Hudak was fumbled around before being recovered by the Warriors. Two minutes later Sinica Sigler would rumble up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown run to give the Warriors the lead. Boyd would ding the ball off the upright, keeping the score at 6-0.
The Patriots would get their first and only score of the first half when Travis Lesko found pay dirt on a 4-yard run, which with the successful PAT handed the Patriots their first lead of the night at 7-6 with 10:09 left in the half.
Not even two minutes later West Orange would answer in kind, as Sigler ran over defenders on a 41-yard touchdown run. The PAT would split the uprights and the Warriors would take their 13-7 lead into the locker room.
“Biggest thing is just capitalizing — taking care of our techniques and fundamentals, because in that first half there were just some glaring things,” McGlynn said. “Coming out of the half we were looking to get the ball back and we have a game plan… then they do a great job executing an onside kick and momentum is on their side.”
The onside kick to start the second half was the real switch in the game for Lake Brantley, as Lesko reeled off back-to-back scores — a 24-yard run in the third quarter and a 3-yard run in the beginning of the fourth quarter to take a 21-13 lead.
After seeing their offense shut down for most of the second half, the Warriors would finally have an answer — thanks in part to multiple defensive pass interference calls against the Patriots.
Huff would hit Jaylon Carlies for the 6-yard touchdown, before turning around and tossing the ball over to Garrett Valentine for the two-point conversion — tying the game at 21-21 with 3:56 left in the game.
What followed was a soul crushing 10 play, 58-yard drive by the Patriots that culminated in the game-sealing touchdown by Hudak with 7.2 seconds.
It was a tough loss, but now the Warriors will set their eyes on a big rivalry game on Thursday night, as they take on Ocoee in “The Shield Game.”
“I think for the Ocoee game — it’s not a problem getting ready for this game,” McGlynn said. “It’s a big rivalry game and we know some of those players on the other side of the ball with them being in blue and orange last year. My thing is this: You can’t allow that to be a distraction… we just have to come out with a laser focus.”