It’s been a storybook season for the Wekiva Mustangs.
They rolled through early-season opponents with the intensity of Hurricane Irma. Their defense posted three shutouts and allowed only one team to eclipse 20 points in a game. The won the District 8A-4 title and defeated crosstown rival Apopka 22-14, both for the first time in school history. Their 11-1 record is the school’s best, and two wins in the playoffs have taken them further into this postseason journey than they have ever traveled before.
Take North Hiawassee Road out of Wekiva High School and turn left onto the 414/John Land Expressway until you reach I-4. Head towards Orlando until you get to East Princeton Street and turn left. You’ll pass by the Orlando Science Center and Loch Haven Park before turning right onto North Mills Avenue and left on Virginia Drive, then curve onto North Forest Avenue past Leu Gardens and into the upscale town of Winter Park – home of the 12-0 Winter Park Wildcats.
The antagonist of the story.
The Mustangs face the Wildcats tonight in the 8A Region 1 final. It’s a trail the Mustangs have taken twice in the last 13 months and both times came away with losses. In the playoffs last season, Wekiva lost to the Wildcats 30-21. Then in a 2017 regular season rematch, they suffered their only loss 10-6.
On paper, the game looks even. In the playoffs, both teams opened with big wins (Wekiva 51-0 over Lake Mary, and Winter Park 42-14 over Spruce Creek), followed by come-from-behind victories (Wekiva 24-20 over Boone, and Winter Park 34-27 over Apopka) in the Region 1 semifinals.
In the regular season, Wekiva and Winter Park had seven common opponents. Winter Park outscored those teams 248-65 (a margin of 183), while Wekiva outscored them 263-82 (a margin of 181).
It can’t get much closer than that, which means fate may well play a role in writing the finale of this epic clash.
Will the Mustangs advance their fairytale journey into the 8A Florida high school playoffs? Will they win and head into the uncharted territory of the final four? Or will it end in Winter Park for the second straight season?