Venice set for showdown with West Orange in FHSAA Class 8A football regional final

VENICE, Fla. – On Friday night at Powell-Davis Stadium we will have a Top 5 matchup, as the Venice Indians (11-1), ranked No. 1 in Class 8A, host the West Orange (Winter Garden) Warriors (11-1) who come in ranked No. 4 in Class 8A.

In his second year at the helm of West Orange, head coach Mike Granato is making his first regional final appearance with the Warriors. Following an early season loss to Apopka back on Sept. 3, the Warriors have won 10 straight games since.

How did West Orange get here?

In the regional quarterfinals, the Warriors defeated Durant (Plant City) 55-6 and in the regional semifinals they defeated Osceola (Kissimmee) 16-7.

Players to watch for West Orange

Wide receiver Jayden Gibson, Sr. (Florida commit); Quarterback Tyler Huff, Sr.; Safety Jordan Castell, Jr. (holds offers from Alabama, Boston College, Cincinnati, Florida, Georgia and several others); and wide receiver Asaad Waseem, Jr. (holds offers from Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and others).

The Venice Indians are led by head coach John Peacock, who is coaching in his sixth straight regional final. Through the first two playoff games, the Indians are only allowing an average of 10.5 points per game.

How did Venice get here?

In the regional quarterfinal, they defeated Plant City 55-7 and in the regional semifinals they defeated Sarasota Riverview 56-14.

Players to watch for Venice

Quarterback Ryan Browne, Sr. (59% completion percentage, 2155 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, 5 interceptions); Running back Damarrion Escort, Sr. (170 carries, 1227 yards, 15 touchdowns); Wide receiver Jayshon Platt, Sr. (49 catches, 831 yards, 10 touchdowns); Wide receiver Omari Hayes, Sr. (51 catches, 689 yards, 10 touchdowns); Linebacker Logan Ballard, Sr. (86 total tackles, 57 solo); and defensive end Damon Wilson, Jr. (64 total tackles, 36 solo and has recorded 12 sacks this season)

What’s at stake?

West Orange is seeking its first state semifinal since 2016; Venice is seeking its sixth consecutive state semifinal appearance. 

Score Prediction:

Venice 31, West Orange 24

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