District tournaments begin Tuesday; Gateway No. 1 seed in 2A-5
The annual Harmony-St. Cloud flag football matchup has, for about the last decade, always decided the Orange Belt Conference championship. In years where they played in the same district, the No. 1 seed at the postseason tournament has also been an award.
Alas, now the Longhorns (A-10) and Bulldogs (2A-5) are in different districts and classes, and they both fell to OBC champ Gateway during the season. So Tuesday’s game just had the No. 2 spot in the OBC on the line as well as bragging rights — which, among teenagers, might as well be as good as cash.
For the first time in over a decade (2008), the St. Cloud got the best of their rivals in a 19-2 win. The Bulldogs broke open what was a tight 7-2 game with a pair of touchdowns in the last three minutes of the ball game.
“It was just a great win,” Coach Shawn Beck said. “I’m very proud of our girls and coaches.”
With the win, St. Cloud (10-1) clinched the No. 2 seed at the 2A-5 tournament next week at Freedom High; the Bulldogs take on No. 3 Oak Ridge on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Gateway finished the regular season 10-2 with a 20-0 win over Lake Nona on Tuesday. The Panthers, who won their first-ever OBC title this year by going undefeated in county play, are the No. 1 seed and will play Cypress Creek on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at districts; Gateway needed overtime to get past the Bears during the season.
Tuesday’s winners will play on Thursday at 7 p.m.
“We finished off the regular season at with the No. 1, seed which is a great accomplishment for us, it has been a long time since Gateway has had a great record and I have to credit all that to my team,” GHS Coach Travis Hill said. “They have worked so hard this year to get where we are now, and they know that they are going to have to play hard as well as remain calm when things do not go our way. All the teams in the district are tough and want the same thing we do, and that is to hoist the district championship trophy over our heads and move on to regional and hopefully make it to state. Overall I am very proud of what they have accomplished and are striving to accomplish, but no matter where our season may come to an end, I will be forever grateful to have been on this journey with my team.”
Harmony (9-2) had first-and-goal a handful of times Tuesday but could not score, Longhorns Coach Paul Strauch said.
“We just couldn’t convert,” he said.
Still, the Longhorns, who host the District A-10 tournament, will be the No. 1 seed there, and will play Edgewater Tuesday in the second semifinal. The championship game is Wednesday at 6 p.m.