When your head coach’s last name is Lord, you have to figure he ought to be able to build a football program, right?
I hate to spoil the surprise for Foundation Academy football coach Brad Lord, but the secret is out. He’s been brewing a little football concoction over in Winter Garden for the past few years, but now he won’t be sneaking up on anyone.
The main reason for that is a couple of brothers. Denzel and Darius Irvin are about to put Foundation on the map this upcoming football season. They’ve already started to gain quite a bit of attention at offseason combines and camps. Wait until they get back in pads.
“They’re real good workers. Here at a smaller school, they’re asked to play both ways sometimes. They have a primary position and a secondary,” Lord said. “They’re such good athletes that we can use them anywhere on the field.
“They are leaders on our campus. The teachers love them, the administration loves them and they do a really good job for us. They represent our school very well.”
Coach Lord has been drumming up support and publicity for his Lions since he took over the program in 2008. He’s had building blocks of players who have helped him get his program to where it is. The pioneers were Kenny Strong and Ryan Mansingh, former quarterback Brendon Tillett, and last year’s stars Kevett Mickle, Darshaun Ford and Gary Hibbert.
“Our program has been building over the last few years, and next year we get a pretty good team back,” Lord said.
The Irvins and quarterback Alec Thompson lead the way for a team that went 8-4 last season.
Lord came to Foundation after a one-year stint as defensive line coach under former Olympia head coach Bob Head, who is now head coach at Winter Garden West Orange. Head let Lord know that it was time for him to stop taking his West Orange-zone players, like the Irvins.
They both laugh about it, but it’s true. Lord has done well with players who, for whatever reason, have left West Orange or other schools to transfer to Foundation, a private Christian-affiliated school. Thompson was at Groveland South Lake.
Darius Irvin (6-foot-1, 185 pounds), who will be a junior next season, led Foundation as a sophomore running back with 462 yards on 75 carries and had five touchdowns in 10 games. He was also the fifth leading tackler with 60 for an average of six tackles per game.
Denzel Irvin (6-foot-0, 180 pounds), who will be a senior this season and is currently ranked No. 37 in the Sentinel’s 2014 Central Florida Super60, was third on the team with 82 tackles (6.8 per game) at cornerback, and he was also the third leading receiver with 11 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown.
This year the Irvin brothers will be doing more, which is fine with them.
They both won MVP honors at two different camps this past weekend.
“It felt very, very good. I was proud of myself. I didn’t really know I was going to get it, so I was kind of surprised. I just thank God that I got it,” Darius said of his Step it Up Camp award.
Meanwhile, Denzel was on the road with Orlando’s Top Recruits Now traveling 7-on-7 team, which made the final four at a Miami regional qualifying tournament. Denzel was back on the road Sunday, winning the MVP at the National Underclassmen Combine 5-Star Showcase in Kissimmee.
While they were proud of each other, they also always look to outdo one another.
Darius was nice to his brother Saturday upon his return home from Miami. He didn’t show him his MVP medal.
“I woulda been showing it to him if I had won it,” said Denzel, laughing.
“Oh, we’re competitive,” Darius said. “We always like fight over everything, but it [doesn’t] do anything but get us better.”
And the better they get, the closer they believe they can come to realizing this season’s goal, which is the same no matter which Foundation player you ask.
“I really wanna get Warner Christian back,” Denzel said of the 62-0 defeat the Eagles handed Foundation in the Class 2A playoffs.
“They put a whoopin’ on us in the playoff game,” Darius said, “so we’re huntin’ Warner.”
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.