The Wolverines fell to visiting Holy Trinity (Melbourne) 41-21 in the program's first home game at Deputy Scott Pine Community Park, showing strong signs of improvement after going 0-10 last fall.
It didn't take long for the Windermere High football team to evict the elephant in the room — the Wolverines scored the program's very first touchdown on the opening drive of their spring football game against Holy Trinity (Melbourne) May 24.
Windermere had not scored a touchdown during its inaugural season in 2017, during which it went 0-10.
Rising senior Isaiah Jackson will now always have the distinction of scoring the first-ever touchdown for Windermere — on a 12-yard keeper less than two minutes into the game — and he did so in the program's first-ever home game at Deputy Scott Pine Community Park.
The early lead did not hold, though, as Holy Trinity eventually won the game 41-21.
Afterward, Wolverines head coach Fred Priest encouraged his team to not be satisfied with having simply scored a handful of touchdowns in a loss — but the veteran coach, in his first year leading the team at Windermere, did acknowledge that it was a cool moment.
“That was huge to score the first one on the opening drive," Priest said. "I was proud of my guys because they acted liked they’d been there before, and we had talked about that."
The Wolverines showed a number of positives to conclude their spring, including the fact that their third touchdown — a one-yard touchdown run by fullback Michael Richardson on the last play of the third quarter — made it a one-possession game entering the fourth quarter.
Though Holy Trinity Pulled away with two scores in the fourth quarter, Priest and his staff believe that the Wolverines will benefit from having had a chance to win a ballgame — and seeing, firsthand, how thin the margin of error can be in such a situation.
“It’s extremely valuable," Priest said. “There are a lot of positives. … There are times where we ran the offense and we executed — you can see where, when we start getting more consistent with that, it’s going to be real hard for folks to stay with us in that deal."
Josh Curry scored Windermere's second touchdown, a one-yard run that was set up by a big run by Jackson on the previous play, and on Will Disalvo had an interception to highlight the night on defense.
Priest praised the core group of Wolverines whom he said have "bought in" — and implored more of their teammates to follow their lead.
“The guys that were on the field, those are the guys that worked hard from January onward, buying into the system," Priest said. "What I told the kids is we need more people to buy in to what we’re doing, to step up and help us. At this level, we can’t keep five or six guys on the field all the time."
Beyond the program's first touchdown, the game had the added significance of being Windermere's first home game. By the time the first quarter had ended, a healthy crowd had filled the home bleacher, and Priest said that it was good to see the community turn out to support the team.
“That was fun to see — I hope we showed them enough to come back," Priest said.