Eagles a factor in 5A-10 playoffs
By Rick Pedone
As the high school football season enters its home stretch, Poinciana is one of three teams in Osceola County with realistic playoff expectations.
Osceola and Harmony are the others.
Quite a turnaround for a long-downtrodden program that rarely won more than one or two games per season over the past decade, let alone challenged for a playoff slot.
Poinciana, 3-4 and 1-1 in 5A District 10, defeated Lakeland Tenoroc last week, 47-9, to post its first district win. The Eagles travel to district foe Mulberry (2-6, 1-2), a 45-23 loser to Auburndale last week, on Friday at 7 p.m.
A Poinciana win would set up a showdown against Auburndale next week for a regional playoff spot. Auburndale plays Lake Wales, the district leader, Friday.
Poinciana made its only playoff appearance in 2000 under a format that allowed Poinciana to qualify as a regional wild card.
That also was the last time the team had a winning record, 6-5.
“If we take care of business this week, that is what is out there for us,” Eagles Coach Jeff Mathis said.
The Eagles, after a slow start at Tenoroc, dominated behind the passing of quarterback Jonathan Lindstrom (14-23-291), who threw five touchdown passes.
Taron Mallard caught two TD throws and Josh Lopez, Maurice Anglin and Darian Dickson all had one. Anglin and Lopez also rushed for touchdowns as the Eagles totaled 506 yards of offense.
“The good thing about that game was, not only did we move the ball, but we put it in the end zone,” Mathis said. “Once we settled in, we played pretty well.”
Lindstrom leads the county with 1,381 passing yards and 12 TD passes.
Mulberry runs from a double wing and likes to keep the ball on the ground, Mathis said.
“They spread, but they spread with the intent to run,” he said.
The football regular season ends for Poinciana at rival Liberty Nov. 8 in what is billed as the All-Color game, where both teams will wear their home uniforms, Mathis said.
“These guys all know each other, they were part of our school at one time, so it makes sense that everyone wears their home colors,” Mathis said.
“We want this to become a real strong rivalry, and this is a step toward making that happen.”