Varsity football runs wild

The team battles this season's changes

Running+back+Oliver+Hart+celebrates+a+touchdown+against+Lake+Brantley+in+the+first+game+of+the+season%2C+a+22-12+win.+

photo by Chatham Farrell

Running back Oliver Hart celebrates a touchdown against Lake Brantley in the first game of the season, a 22-12 win.

Tara Routie, Staff Reporter

With ten seconds to go, down 26-20 and fourth and goal from the two yard-line, Oliver Hart dove over the right side of the line for a touchdown, Landon Spangenberg kicked the extra point, and varsity football took the lead against Lake Minneola, 27-26, on Tuesday night.

Trying to match the last second heroics, Lake Minneola lateraled three times on the final kickoff to try for a game-winning touchdown, but a fumble into the end zone resulted in a Hagerty touchdown and a 33-26 win. The team had scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter and two in the final 10 seconds.

To say the season has been unpredictable is an understatement. Irma-related changes led to a Tuesday game against Lake Minneola, a Thursday rivalry game against Oviedo, and another Thursday Pink’d game in the rain against East Ridge, a district loss on Oct. 5.

Against East Ridge, the team did not score until the third quarter, when running back Oliver Hart rushed 25 yards for a touchdown. Adding to the problems that night, running back Jordan Gilbert suffered a season-ending knee injury during the third quarter. Hart finished with 65 yard rushing, but he thinks the team could have played better.

“Lack of execution is what ultimately lost us the game,” Hart said.

The Pink’d game supports breast cancer awareness, and fans usually sport pink in the student section to cheer on the team, but the schedule changes caused only a handful of students to show up. Despite the changes, Hart was looking forward to the Pink’d game.

“It was a big game for us as a team because it was the game the ultimately decided who was going to be the district champ,” Hard said.

The team is in third place with a 3-1 district record, while East Ridge is in first.

A 22-21 win over Ocoee on Friday, Sept. 29, added to the season’s suspense.

The game began with an 8-point lead over Ocoee with a touchdown by running back Jordan Gilbert and a 2-point conversion by running back Oliver Hart. Ocoee scored three touchdowns, however, during the second quarter, and had a halftime lead, 21-8.

Quarterback Ethan Brewer scored on an 18 yard run to end the third quarter, but the team trailed 21-15 with time running out.

With less than two minutes left, wide receiver Caleb Lowe caught a 12-yard touchdown pass, and the defense held off Ocoee with an interception, winning 22-21.

Despite the close win against Ocoee, the team has some readjusting to do. Hurricane Irma caused many game to be rescheduled. Not only did the Pink’d game get rescheduled, but the away game against Winter Springs is rescheduled to Monday, Oct. 30. The team will play three games in two weeks.

“[Irma forced] us to play multiple games in short spans of time and [condensed] our preparation time for some pretty important games,” Hart said.

Irma was not the only setback the team faced this year. With only a few senior starters, the team is very young.

“Our strength and weakness is our youth,” assistant coach Luis Chacon said. “We are going to be good in the next couple of years but there is immaturity and lack of knowledge.”

Despite the setbacks, the team still has a chance for playoffs when they battle for the second-place spot in a district game against Edgewater on Oct. 26.

“I’m proud of my team,” Gilbert said. “We are a group that when things are tough and hard we still prosper and fight through it.”

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