Covid and tracing issues reared their ugly heads again last weekend, as six of the eight public counties saw their opening games postponed.
The biggest game on last weekend’s slate was supposed to be the 98th scheduled meeting of St. Cloud and Osceola – the fifth oldest rivalry in the state. At midweek, St. Cloud announced that they would not be able to play in the game due to a positive test from a player and potential tracing issues. Both schools worked together and decided to play the game on Monday, Sept. 27 – exactly one month later.
It was an extraordinary move, as it means Osceola will end up playing three games in eight days as they are scheduled to travel to Manatee on Sept. 24, host St. Cloud on the following Monday, before welcoming Windermere to town on Friday.
Osceola will now open their season this Friday night – traveling to Cocoa, a 42-41 winner over Vero Beach this past Friday night. Vero was one of three teams to defeat the Kowboys last year. St. Cloud (0-0) hosts Liberty, which dropped a 27-14 decision to Haines City in their opener.
St. Cloud head coach Bryan Smart said. “It’s a shame we had to postpone the Osceola game but hopefully this will just be a blip and we can get back to normal.”
Both Poinciana and Celebration were idle last week. The Eagles took a bye in Week One; while Celebration saw its game Gateway also postponed because of Covid tracing issues. Poinciana will host Celebration this Friday, in a game that Eagles head coach Randy Beeken says will be a real challenge to his squad.
“Coach Pringle really opened some eyes when his team defeated St. Cloud in their Kickoff Classic,” Beeken said. “They are playing really hard for him and he has really turned them around quickly. Our keys to the game will be playing hard, assignment football.”
After the cancellation of both their Kickoff Classic Pre-Season Game and their opener last week, Gateway is looking to get on the field for the first time this year when they host Tohopekaliga at 7 p.m. pm Friday. Toho ran into a buzz saw in its season opener last weekend, dropping a 71-0 decision to Lake Minneola. The result was not totally unexpected as the Hawks had most of their players returning from a team that advanced all the way to the Class 6A State Championship game a year ago.
“Hats off to Minneola, they made a lot of great plays, and it was our job to stop them. We’re a young team, but no excuses. We’ll get older and better quick, and we’ll be ready for next week’s game with Gateway,” said new Tigers Head Coach Jeff Higgins.
Harmony also lost its opening weekend game with Mt. Dora due to Covid Tracing issues. The game has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 15, which happens to fall on a bye week for both teams. The Longhorns will now host Heritage this Friday. “They have a young team but from what I saw on film from their preseason game they are athletic and appear to be well-coached,” Longhorns head coach Don Simon said. “We expect them to be a challenge.”
After an opening week of play, the Osceola Lady Kowboys found themselves with a 5-2 mark. They opened the season with a somewhat surprising four-set loss to Tohopekaliga before beating a solid Lake Mary squad a day later. Over the weekend, they traveled to Fort Lauderdale for the Nova Southeastern University Tournament, where they went 4-1 and won the gold bracket. The tournament featured best of three games, with their only loss coming to Baron Collier 18-25, 29-27, 10-15.
Tohopekaliga went to 2-0 on the season, sweeping Gateway (0-1) 25-18, 25-23, and 31-29 in straight sets. The Lady Tigers return to action on Thursday with a match at Celebration (1-2), who defeated Poinciana (0-1) last week but lost straight-set decisions to Lake Nona and Clearwater Catholic. Tohopekaliga will attempt to go to 3-0 on Monday when they travel to Liberty today for the Chargers’ season-opening game.
Ettie Singleton’s young team got off to a good start with a season-opening 3-1 win over University (25-14, 25-19, 17-25, 25-16). Sophomore Heylianis Aqino led the way with nine kills. The Lady Bulldogs then made it 2-0 with a straight-sets win over Orlando Christian Prep (25-14, 25-11, 25-14).
We’d like to thank our community business partners that join us in supporting Osceola School District Athletics Programs, the students, coaches, volunteers, and everyone that makes it happen throughout the year, and specifically during the Varsity football season: Orlando Health, Kissimmee Utility Authority, Huff’s Quality Air Conditioning, Tuffy Tire Auto Service in St. Cloud, Prescriptions Unlimited, Orlando Health – St. Cloud Hospital, and Big John’s Rockin’ Barbecue.