Harmony wins district
Picks off 6 passes, routs Lake Nona; 1st title since 2007
Harmony scored 21 points in the second quarter and intercepted host Lake Nona six times Friday in what second-year coach Don Simon called a signature win for his team in Class 7A, District 5.
The Longhorns (7-1, 5-0), ranked No. 13 in the Sentinel Super 16, rolled to a convincing 41-12 decision over the No. 10 Lions (5-2, 3-1) while compiling over 400 yards of offense.
Harmony claims its first district championship since 2007 and will have home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Longhorns can wrap up an unbeaten district slate with a win at home next week against Celebration.
“This was the one that kind of eluded us last year, so we’ve been looking at this one ever since,” Simon said. “We knew coming into this year that it was us and Lake Nona to win the district, that we’d have to do it through them, and we did it.”
Senior quarterback Nathan Herstich finished 10 of 22 passing for 186 yards and a touchdown and added 106 yards rushing and two scores for Harmony. Justin Gleason added 123 yards on the ground.
“This is huge for us,” Herstich said. “Two years ago I played on this field and we lost to Lake Nona big-time. They ran up the score up on us and that’s kind of been in [our] hearts since then.”
Lake Nona jumped on the Longhorns midway through the first quarter when Moises Aracena broke multiple tackles and ran through the heart of the defense for an 85-yard touchdown.
But the Lions were picked off on their next two possessions, the second of which was returned 11 yards for a touchdown by Ahmeen Dinzey to put the Longhorns in front for good at 10-6. Ryan Carroll backed the Lions up inside their own 2-yard line a play earlier by sacking Michael Kern.
Harmony poured it on in the final minutes of the half to take a commanding 24-6 lead into the break as Herstich rushed for a 3-yard score then connected for a 32-yard touchdown pass to Elijah Fernandez.
Carroll forced Kern to throw his first interception of the night while in pursuit toward the visiting sideline.
He also blocked a punt on Lake Nona’s first drive of the third quarter and took an interception 60 yards for a score with just eight seconds to play.
Harmony QB Nate Herstich (7), who passed for a TD and ran for two more in Friday’s district title-clinching victory, gets protection from lineman Thomas Schroeder (77).