The Winter Park Wildcats will look to play mostly familiar opponents during the 2021 season. Could a familiar schedule without the test of at least one opponent that is not in the Orlando-metro area be holding the Wildcats back from going further in the playoffs? Let us take a look and see if this year’s schedule might go against that thought.
WINTER PARK 2021 SCHEDULE
Preseason – 8/20 – Winter Garden West Orange
Week 1 – 8/27 – at Orlando Lake Nona
Week 2 – 9/3 – Lake Mary
Week 3 – 9/10 – at Orlando Boone
Week 4 – 9/17 – Orlando University*
Week 5 – 9/24 – Orlando Evans
Week 6 – 10/1 – at Oviedo Hagerty*
Week 7 – 10/7 – Orlando Edgewater
Week 8 – 10/15 – BYE WEEK
Week 9 – 10/22 – Orlando Colonial*
Week 10 – 10/28 – at Orlando Timber Creek*
Week 11 – 11/5 – at Altamonte Springs Lake Brantley
* – District Game
Key District Game: It should not be any surprise that the key district game for the Wildcats will be the Week 10 (10/28) district showdown with Orlando Timber Creek for the district championship. For the last few years when these teams have met on the field, it has always been with the district championship on the line. A win here in this game will put the Wildcats in the playoffs, but a loss could hinder depending on how certain other teams do for the RPI that we will discuss.
Key Non-District Game: The Week 7 (10/7) matchup with Edgewater by far stands out as the best non-district game for the Wildcats. Edgewater, who is coming off a second straight Class 7A state championship appearance will most likely be one of the top teams again in the Orlando area. Securing a victory over Edgewater in this game will go a long way towards having a strong RPI percentage at the end of the season regardless of what happens in Week 10 against Timber Creek to reach the playoffs.
RPI: Teams like Lake Nona, Boone, Lake Mary, Edgewater, Timber Creek, and even possibly Lake Brantley will certainly help for the RPI percentage for the Wildcats. However, it may only take one or two of these teams mentioned to struggle where it could put things on edge for the RPI percentage. While the district cannot be controlled, which only contains four district games, the non-district schedule overall is not as strong as it could be in terms of helping the cause for RPI percentage.
Biggest Takeaways & Thoughts: With this schedule mostly focused on the Orlando area and with opponents mostly within a 30-minute drive or less from Winter Park, it would have been great to have seen one opponent on the schedule, not from Orange or Seminole county on the non-district slate here. As mentioned, Winter Park cannot control the district slate, so the goal here would be to win out their district slate so they know they will be guaranteed a playoff spot. If the Wildcats win their district, I do not see their seeding for the regional bracket being no higher than a No. 3 seed based on what I am looking at schedule-wise. And on one other, note, it would have been even better had the West Orange game been a regular season game and not a preseason contest.