Varsity football falls short to Lakeland in Regional Finals

Kate Caranante, Staff Writer

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Before the clock could hit zero, or the sportsmanlike post-game handshakes at midfield could be completed, tears were already filling in the eyes of the varsity football players. With these tears streaming down their faces, teammates embraced one another, heads buried in shoulders, as their run in the postseason came to an end.  

Despite falling 49-30 to Lakeland High School in the Regional Final, the team finished the season with a 11-2 record.  

“The biggest accomplishment is always just to play to the best of your abilities, and I felt like we did that often, and I feel like we did that overall,” head coach Robert Weiner said. “I was really proud of our players’ season on the field and off the field.” 

When the 2018 season began, the varsity football team returned just two defensive starters. Taking the field for the first game of the season, many of the players on the defense had never played in a varsity football game. 

“We grew a lot during the season,” junior linebacker Jackson Hacker said. “I think our team was just young.”  

With this young defense the team recorded three shutouts and gave up an average of 17 points a game while scoring an average of 37 points per game. One of these shutouts came when they defeated Wiregrass Ranch High School in order to win the District Championship. 

“Before the game coach Weiner was telling us how this has to be a game where we put everything together and start being a playoff potential team,” Hacker said. “Then we went out and beat them 42-0 and we kind of all clicked together.” 

Following that, they beat Newsome High School 50-36 in the final game of the regular season and went on to playoffs. In the first-round matchup they defeated Gaither High School 36-16 and moved on to the second round where they faced Viera High School. Here they played their best football all season, according to Weiner.  

“It was a battle for most of the game,” senior offensive linemen Steven Sargent said. “We were down, we had to fight through adversity, and we ended up coming away with the win. It showed how we all stick together as a team.” 

Although their season ended before the team could make it to Orlando for the State Championship game, they are left with the memories and bonds formed during the season.  

“The thing that I love the most is how close we all got with each other even though the team was based on transfers,” senior running back Walter Wilbon III said. “The bond grew over the season and we came together as a team.”

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