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Boone at Olympia Spring 2018


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Well being afflicted by the football bug, I took in the Boone vs Olympia football game last evening. I did so not because I expected an especially good game between state contenders but because I was suffering from the football withdrawal bug, as well as the fact that Boone is on Apopka's regular season schedule, so I thought I would go scout them. Well this is a time when low expectations led to a pleasant surprise. 

Background: Both teams are Orange County, and are suburban Orlando area teams. Olympia was built in the early 2000s and since then has had several elite football players, most notably Chris Johnson and Trevor Semian, both of whom went on to the NFL. However, despite this, they have never made a deep playoff run, as their best teams in 2008 through 2010 were eliminated relatively early in the playoffs by Dr. Phillips. Boone, on the other hand, has been around since the early 1950s, when the old Orlando High School split into Orlando High South and Orlando High North, which were renamed Boone and Edgewater, respectively. Boone is generally known for producing good, fundamentally sound football teams; great kicker/punters (it is no accident that Johnny Townsend, was picked up in this year's NFL draft), and big, solid offensive and defensive lines. Aside from 2006 through 2008, when they made back to back to back State Semifinal appearances, losing by 4 in 2006, winning by 3 in 2007 and losing by 3 in 2008, Boone has never made a deep playoff run. Last year, both teams were decent, with Olympia losing in the first round of the 8A playoffs to Vero Beach, while Boone lost to Wekiva in the second round, after winning their first round game on the road. Both teams are from comparatively affluent school boundaries. 

The Game: Olympia scored on its first offensive play from scrimmage, when the tailback, Jean eluded a tackle and then raced untouched 70 yards for the score. The teams then traded punts. Then on its third possession, Boone fumbled the ball away at its own 21 yard line and two plays later, Olympia scored again to make it 14 to zip. At this stage I was thinking blowout and waste of money. Boy was  I wrong. After the less then stellar opening, Boone proceeded to dominate the rest of the game scoring 31 unanswered points, 28 of which were scored against Olympia's starters. I was particularly impressed with Boone's starting QB, for while he will not play QB at the next level unless he is a rising sophomore with lots of growing ahead of him, he was extremely entertaining. The kid was short, perhaps 5 ft 9 in at most. But he is quick and fast and has a good arm. I was going to say fast for a white kid, but that would be demeaning, as this kid is fast by any standards and I grew up in Jamaica, so I think I know what fast is. Anyway, on its first meaningful drive of the game, which ended early in the second quarter, Boone drove the ball effortlessly from deep inside its own half down to the Olympia 8. It seemed to have scored but the play was called back when there was a hold inches from the goal line. On the next play, first and goal from just outside the 10 on a bad exchange, Boone fumbled the ball away. I was thinking at this stage, that Boone was cursed and was not fated to win. However, the next Olympia drive ended badly as Boone intercepted the ball near mid field and took it back to the Olympia 29. Three plays later, Boone was finally on the board on a QB keeper taken 15 yards untouched into the end zone. From there, the floodgates opened as Boone controlled the rest of the game. The final score was Boone 31 Olympia 14. 

Thoughts on Boone: This is a very solid Boone team. It has a chance to be the school's best team ever, as I saw no discernible weaknesses. The 2006 to 2008 teams were all pretty good teams. The 2007 one was the only one to make it all the way to the State title game, where, unfortunately, they ran into a National Championship caliber, Miami Northwestern team and got beaten soundly. That, by the way, was the last really well attended State Title game in Florida, drawing over 22,000 Boone and Northwestern fans. Having seen Apopka and Boone in back to back evenings, assuming neither teams change fundamentally before the start of the regular season, their 4th week game is going to be a very good one, which Apopka cannot afford to take lightly.  

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