Fierce defense shuts down undefeated Wildcats
The storybook season continues…
The Wekiva Mustangs used its menacing defense and a second-half scoring spree to overwhelm the #1 seeded Winter Park Wildcats 33-6 to win the 8-A Region 1 final and advance to the state semifinals for the first time in the school’s history.
The victory put to rest a winning streak Winter Park held over Wekiva that both knocked them out of the playoffs last season, and was their only loss this year.
The entire first half was a defensive struggle with Wekiva leading 2-0, but midway through the third quarter, Mustang quarterback Brandon Williams hit junior wide receiver Terrence Moore on a 65-yard touchdown pass, and after an Oscar Salazar kick, Wekiva had a 9-0 lead with 8:10 left in the period.
Then after a Winter Park punt, senior running back Birthel Bridges ran 37 yards inside the Wildcat 20, and Williams scored from the two-yard line three plays later to break the game open, giving Wekiva a 16-0 lead with 5:43 left in the third quarter.
Winter Park answered on the very next drive when quarterback Cameron LaGree threw a 76 yard touchdown pass to Malik Tolbert to close the gap to 16-6. The extra point failed.
On the next Winter Park drive, Wekiva safety Brandon Hill picked off LaGree and took it to the Winter Park 33. Williams ran for 10 yards but the drive stalled. Salazar’s 38 yard field goal ended the quarter with Wekiva ahead 19-6.
Then with 7:30 left in the game, Erion Lowe intercepted a LaGree pass and returned it for a touchdown, increasing Wekiva’s lead to 26-6.
Bridges exorcised all of the demons from this rivalry with a game-clinching 29-yard touchdown run, giving Wekiva an insurmountable 33-6 lead with only 2:28 remaining in the game.
The win gives the Mustangs a 12-1 record and puts them only two wins away from a state championship. Next Friday they face the Dr. Phillips Panthers in the state semifinals at the Baptiste Orthodontics Stadium on the campus of Wekiva High School. The Mustangs defeated Dr. Phillips 15-0 earlier this season. The Panthers defeated Sarasota Riverview 28-19 in the Region 2 final to advance.
Note: Feature photo (above the article) from AGO Action Photos.