All season long, the Out-of-Door Academy defense has shut down opponents at key times in games, often resulting in victories for the Thunder.
ODA’s defense was the story again in the second half of Thursday night’s Sunshine State Athletic Conference Coral League playoff opener against Jupiter Christian. The Thunder defense forced three turnovers — including two picks by Noah Lewellin — in a 27-13 victory over the Eagles.
The Thunder fought their way to a 17-14 lead at the break. Their defense, which at one point in the season was allowing less than five points a game, took over and shut out Jupiter Christian over the final 24 minutes.
“They were absolutely lights out in the second half,” ODA head coach Chris Kempton said.
Lewellin also had a touchdown catch in the game. Colin Castro ran for more than 150 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns for ODA. Filip Svoboda also booted a pair of field goals to complete the scoring for the Thunder.
“It was tough sledding offensively, but our guys kept fighting through it and wore them down a little bit,” Kempton said. “Knocking off the No. 2 seed says a lot about how we fought through adversity with penalties. They showed a lot of grit and determination, especially in the second half.
Pulling out a tight game on the road is a huge step.”
ODA, winners of a first round playoff game for the second year in a row, will be on the road again next week to face the winner of Friday night’s Mount Dora/Inlet Christian matchup.