Jones High football coach Elijah Williams says the school’s fan base has wanted a rematch with Miami Northwestern since a Class 5A final loss that drew a crowded crowd too big for Daytona Stadium in 2019.
It happens in two weeks when the Northwestern nation travels to Orlando to see their Bulls in a preseason kickoff classic game Aug. 20 at the 65,000-seat Camping World Stadium, which is within walking distance of Jones High is to play against the Tigers.
“I see it as giving the community what it wants,” Williams said after his team opened preseason practice with Monday practice. “They want to see Central Florida versus South Florida.”
The long-distance rivalry dates back to days before integration, when both historically black schools were members of the Florida Interscholastic Athletic Association. They played memorable games in the 1950s and 1960s before joining the Florida High School Athletic Association.
“That’s why they call it a soul bowl game,” Williams said. “It has historical significance.”
Northwestern rolls 10 buses to Orlando.
“They bring their band, their cheer squad, the whole thing,” he said. “There will be a lot of people at this game.”
Tickets ($15) must be purchased online in advance via the HomeTown Fan App. Parking is $5.
The two teams have not been far from facing each other in the state finals in the last two seasons. Jones lost an overtime semifinal at 6A runner-up Pensacola Pine Forest last season and lost a semifinal at 5A runner-up Tampa Jesuit in 2020.
Seven-time FHSAA champion Northwestern was beaten by state champions Plantation American Heritage in 2020 and Jesuit in 2021.
They cannot meet in the postseason this year because they are no longer in the same classification in the new FHSAA formula. Jones is one of the smaller schools — perhaps the smallest — in Class 3M (Metro) based on last fall’s enrollment of 1,679 students. Northwestern is a major 2M member with a 2021 tally of 1,509.
There has been a lot of talk about packaging the Sanford Seminole vs. Edgewater classic with the Jones-Northwestern game as a doubleheader at either UCF or Camping World. That didn’t catch on.
Edgewater, a 3M state title contender, will host Seminole, one of the 4M favorites, in an Aug. 19 Kickoff Classic.
Another doozy of the August 19 preseason sees Kissimmee Osceola starting at runners-up Apopka in 2021.
Rick Tribit, whose ties with Osceola High stretch back to 2006, is the Kowboys’ new athletic director, having served in that position at neighboring Celebration for the past five years. He replaces Jim Bird, who built a strong Osceola wrestling program while overseeing athletics.
“I’m just trying not to screw it up,” Tribit said. “He’s been one of my best friends for years. He did a great job.”
Tribit was Osceola’s assistant wrestling coach and right-hand man for Bird from 2006-2015 and has remained as tournament director for the Osceola-sponsored state wrestling championships at Silver Spurs Arena since 2015.
Tribit, a UCF graduate, was also AD for Winter Springs. He was the head wrestling coach at Lyman, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Sarasota, St. Cloud and Celebration.
Bird, who joined Osceola in 1987, quit in July and took a school job in Santa Rosa County in the Panhandle. He said the move brings him closer to children and grandchildren. His wrestling program has produced at least one state champion in each of the past 16 seasons.
Doug Patterson, who served as Orange County Public Schools’ athletic director for six years, also resigned in July to take a new job as regional sales manager for BSN Sports, which sells equipment and apparel.
The OCPS Public Information Office told the Orlando Sentinel that no replacement had been named as of Monday.
Patterson previously spent 13 years at Boone High School, two as a head coach and 11 as an athletic director.
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Jerri Kelly, one of Central Florida’s most influential athletic directors for decades, retired from Lake Brantley after 16 years as the Patriots’ AD. In 2019 she received the Dr. Clarence Noe Award for Florida’s Outstanding Athletics Administrator.
Kelly was involved in education and athletics for 43 years, beginning in New York and Connecticut and then working in Seminole County for 40 years.
Melissa Dallenbach, previously Kelly’s assistant, is the new AD for the Patriots.
Geneva School Athletic Director Dan Harger has handed over his girls’ softball coaching responsibilities to Jared Incinelli, a former Winter Park star who has coached baseball at Trinity Prep for the past four seasons.
Harger, who was 23 years AD and a softball coach, remains in charge of athletics with the Knights.
Incinelli played on Winter Park’s runner-up baseball team in 1998 and later appeared for the 2005 UNF NCAA Division II runner-up team. He played minor league baseball for three years.
This report was first published at www.orlandosentinel.com. Varsity Content Editor Buddy Collings can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.