For much of the past two months, Orlando’s Olympia High School avoided the spotlight. That’s easy to do when a team drops two of its first three games. On Friday, though, the Titans took center stage.
Olympia defeated previously unbeaten Apopka 22-12 to cut the list of Central Florida’s undefeated Class 6A teams to two. Now only Dr. Phillips and DeLand, both big winners on Friday, remain unbeaten.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian led the way with three touchdown passes. Siemian, who committed to Northwestern University in June 2009, completed 18-of-30 passes for 173 yards for Olympia, which clinched a district championship by improving to 6-2 overall and 5-0 in 6A-5.
Siemian’s performance gives him 1,842 passing yards and 16 passing touchdowns in eight games. He is near the top in both categories among all Central Florida quarterbacks, and it’s been a year for the signal-callers. Seven area quarterbacks appear likely to top the 1,500-yard plateau, and at least three are likely to top 2,000 passing yards this season.
Olympia, which finished 8-3 with a first-round playoff loss last season, celebrated defeating the Blue Darters, who lost despite Tom Smith’s 154 rushing yards on 22 carries. The Titans, though, must wait to celebrate the district championship. The Orlando Sentinel reported that the Florida High School Athletic Association is expected to rule this week on the eligibility of Jarius Pace, who played in Olympia’s first two district wins but has been out of uniform pending the FHSAA’s ruling. Pace transferred from another school.
Even if the FHSAA negates the two games in which Pace played, the Titans would take a 3-2 district record into Friday’s game with East Ridge. A win in that one would lock up a postseason berth for Olympia.
Apopka (7-1) still has postseason aspirations. The Blue Darters, though, could miss the playoffs for the first time in years if Ocoee can pull out a win when the two meet Friday. Ocoee (6-3) is one game back of Apopka in the battle for the runner-up spot in 6A-5. If Apopka falls, the Blue Darters would drop to 4-2 in the district. East Ridge also remains alive in the district. Despite already losing to Apopka, East Ridge could force a three-way tie for the runner-up spot with a win and an Ocoee win.
Week 9 roundup
DeLand defeated a good Lake Brantley team 27-0 on Friday.
While the defense finished off yet another shutout, Deante "Pop" Saunders continued his dominance in the running game.
Saunders rushed for 162 yards and four scores. He now has nearly 1,300 rushing yards in nine games, and teammate Shontrelle Johnson, who ran for 160 yards against Lake Brantley, surpassed the 1,000-yard mark. He now has 1,133 rushing yards. Both could top 1,500 yards before the Bulldogs are finished this season.
Dr. Phillips appears to be coasting to its own undefeated regular season. The Panthers defeated Gateway 69-0 Friday to improve to 8-0. More importantly, Demetrius Hart, the team’s talented junior running back, appears at full speed after suffering a minor injury a few weeks ago. Hart scored four times against Gateway. His touchdowns include a pair of punt returns. DP secured the district title in 6A-4 with the win. It appears increasingly likely that the Panthers will face DeLand in the postseason. Both teams, though, need to win two playoff games before the matchup takes place, and you can bet a few teams are ready to interrupt.
Winter Park, which lost its only game to Edgewater a few weeks ago, kept its momentum going with a big win against Kissimmee Osceola on Friday. The Wildcats won 33-20 behind a big night for Sam Richardson. The junior scored four touchdowns, two passing, to lead the way for Winter Park (7-1). Senior running back Patrick Mputu tallied 203 rushing yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Week 10 Preview
While plenty of folks intend to follow the action in 6A-5 this Friday, the week’s biggest matchup takes place in Daytona Beach, where DeLand travels to Municipal Stadium for a date with destiny. The Bulldogs face Mainland with a perfect regular-season record on the line.
DeLand’s win against Lake Brantley last Friday locked up a playoff spot in District 6A-2, and the Bulldogs can claim a district title with a win at Mainland (6-2). The Bucs have the same aspirations after moving to District 6A-2 last spring. Mainland played in Class 5A a season ago. Of course, it was just two years ago that DeLand went 0-10 and then replaced its coach with Kevin Pettis. The second-year coach told the Orlando Sentinel the quick turnaround has been "surreal."
Winter Park can secure a district championship with a win Friday. Meanwhile, Kissimmee Osceola only needs Lakeland to defeat George Jenkins on Friday in order to give the Kowboys the runner-up playoff spot out of District 5A-4. It has been a wild season for Osceola (5-4). The Kowboys’ four losses have been to Dr. Phillips, Mainland, Lakeland and Winter Park. Those teams are a combined 29-3, and two — Dr. Phillips and Lakeland — have yet to lose.
In Class 5A-3, Friday also features a key game between Winter Springs and Oviedo. The game will decide the district championship. Among small schools, Cocoa High School shoots for its 19th straight win Friday against Rockledge. Cocoa, last year’s Class 2A state champion, has not lost since a 15-14 game against Merritt Island on Oct. 10, 2008. Rockledge has won five of its last six.
Mainland receiver and defensive back Chevin Davis announced that he has committed to Purdue University. Davis informally announced his intentions after rushing for a pair of touchdowns in Mainland’s 21-12 win against Deltona last Friday.