Winter Haven traveled to Haines City for a football game, but ended up getting a bath. With just under 9 minutes remaining in the game, school administration issued a weather delay. Due to lightning, the delay would turn into a cancelation of the remainder of the game lending Winter Haven a 14-6 victory in a game that would have been interesting down to the final minutes.
Winter Haven’s defense was really good. Versus the run, the Blue Devils were great. Hornets could not find any open real estate to gain yards on the ground. The Blue Devils front seven swarmed the ball and closed up any open gaps. From field view, the linebacker play was most impressive. Highly active, physical and fast!
Both teams were inconsistent on offense. Just as Winter Haven was good on defense, so were the Hornets. Haines City ran fast and hit hard. The secondary flew around and aside from the Redzone TD pass (Derius James TD reception) they took care of the pass and forced Winter Haven to win on the ground. Derwin James was a man amongst boys.
If you didn’t know anything about football, you would know who the best player on the field was this night…Derwin James was the biggest spark on the field by a long shot. Polk Preps will likely have some good stats. But, they are not needed.
Before the end of the first half, James accounted for 1 interception which was negated due to pass interference; 1 punt return for a TD which was negated due to a block in the back; 1 TD reception and a few big hits. At the start of the second half he caught a few passes and tacked on a bunch of yards after the catch and a block PAT. His overall production was off the charts.
Winter Haven struggled versus the defensive speed of Haines City. The QB was flushed out the pocket often and ensuing pass rushers got to him a few times. The passing attack was limited.
Same goes for Haines City. The passing game was very limited and success through the air only came if the ball was thrown to Derwin James. Penalties killed drives and scores for the Hornets also. Most were lazy penalties, such as players not moving feet so they are forced to hold. Players not in football position so they are forced to clip. All correctable.
Both teams will be tough this season. Expect improvement headed into week 2.