- October 22, 2022
The Out-of-Door Academy's 2022 football season was a stark turnaround from a winless 2021 season — but it still ended in heartbreak.
The Thunder (9-1) fumbled its chance at a perfect season with a 21-0 home loss to rival St. Stephen's Episcopal (5-5) Friday night in the Sunshine State Athletic Conference 5A semifinals. The Falcons will advance to the SSAC state championship game Nov. 12 against Legacy Charter (6-3); the Thunder will have to wait until next season to get revenge.
ODA had beaten the Falcons 26-22 in the team's Sept. 9 regular season contest, mounting a second-half comeback after trailing 14-8 at halftime. On Friday, there was no such comeback. St. Stephen's controlled the game from the opening kickoff, which junior Caleb Bosek returned to the ODA 35-yard line. A few plays later, junior running back Evan Brown punched in a three-yard touchdown. The Falcons went to Brown for the bulk of their offense: he finished with 122 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Senior quarterback Luke Donley also found senior receiver Justin Millican for a 15-yard score.
It was all they needed, as the Thunder offense never found a rhythm. ODA entered Friday averaging 40 points per game, but the Thunder — a run-heavy team — was overmatched by the Falcons' physicality along the defensive line, with Thunder running backs finding little room to maneuver and senior quarterback Jack Hobson forced to scramble on the rare occasions he was asked to throw.
"We just didn't play well tonight," ODA Head Coach Rob Hollway said. "We did not have our A-game and that's (St. Stephen's) a good team. It just wasn't our night."