6-0 Blue Darters win big, but QB Burch leaves game injured
What a difference a year makes.
After losing to The West Orange Warriors 28-3 in the 2015 regular season and again in the playoffs 21-14, the Apopka Blue Darters slammed their division rivals 56-20 in a revenge game at Raymond Screws Field on the campus of West Orange High School.
It was also the opening game of the Class 8A, District 4 season. The Blue Darters (6-0 overall, 1-0 in the district) remain undefeated and likely to stay atop the Class 8A Florida AP Poll. West Orange drops to 1-5 and 0-1 in the district.
As has become a tradition, Apopka took their opening drive 80 yards in nine plays taking only 3:58 off the clock and scoring on a Demetri Burch 21-yard touchdown pass to senior fullback Paul Fitzgerald. Logan Minniear’s extra point made it 7-0. Burch, the senior Blue Darter quarterback, went on to throw two touchdown passes and run for three more before leaving the game with a leg injury in the third quarter.
West Orange recovered a fumble on the Blue Darters second drive and tied the game on a 60-yard-touchdown run by senior running back Darien Williams. The extra point tied the score at 7-7.
On the very next play, Blue Darter senior running back Deshawn Massey turned the corner and scored on a 70-yard touchdown run, and with the Minniear extra point reclaimed the lead 14-7.
Before the first quarter ended, Burch hit freshman receiver Jackson Darlington on a 31-yard touchdown pass to take a 21-7 lead after Manniear’s kick, which ended the scoring in the first quarter.
West Orange cut the lead in half with an extended drive that ended with Warrior senior quarterback Austin Burton’s pass to West Orange senior wide receiver Kyveon Jones from five yards out to make it 21-14 after the extra point.
Only three plays later, Burch rolled out to pass, then ran 62 yards for Apopka’s fourth touchdown of the night. Manniear’s kick made it 28-14 with 8 minutes remaining in the half.
Two plays later, Burton threw a long pass which seemed to be caught by Jones, but a big hit made the ball come loose and junior cornerback Jarvis Ware, the hero of the Dr. Phillips game, made the interception and returned it to the West Orange 5-yard-line. Burch punched that in for a three-yard-touchdown two plays later to give Apopka a 35-14 lead.
The Blue Darters scored again before halftime on a on a 7-play drive that accounted for 91 yards which featured a Massey run for 35 yards and senior running back Jordan Thompson on a 33-yard run to the 12. Burch scored his third touchdown of the night on an 8-yard run to give the Blue Darters a 42-14 lead at halftime.
The biggest drama of the second half came midway through the third quarter when Burch was hit hard on a sideline run and stayed down. He limped to the sideline on his own power, but did not return to the game. There were no reports on his condition as of the publication of this article.
On the very next Blue Darter drive, Massey went down on a long run and was helped off the field. Massey however returned to the game in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore running back Cornelius Williams and Thompson both had touchdown runs in the fourth quarter along with two Manniere kicks to round out the Apopka scoring. West Orange added two field goals to account for theirs.
The Blue Darter Homecoming game is next Friday, October 7th at Roger Williams Field at Apopka High School as they take on the 5-1 Olympia High Titans. Game time is 7PM.