Apopka remains undefeated with eighth straight win
There’s no place like home.
After playing three straight games on the road, the Apopka Blue Darters (8-0) returned home and routed the Oak Ridge Pioneers (4-5) 55-7. The last time Apopka played at Roger Williams Field was an epic 15-14 victory over Dr. Phillips High School on September 16th.
A lot has happened since then.
Among the notable events were the Blue Darters first 8A District 4 title since 2013, an 8-0 start, a come-from-behind 38-31 win over crosstown rival Wekiva, a trip to the playoffs in two weeks, and a cancelled home game with Olympia High School because of the hurricane. It was also announced the game with Olympia will not be played this season.
But tonight the Blue Darters were back to their old ways – scoring early and often and forcing a running clock by halftime after running off a 42-0 lead. Six different players found the end zone for Apopka, including two touchdown passes by senior quarterback Demetri Burch, and touchdown runs by senior running back Jordan Thompson which came on a direct snap from scrimmage, and a kickoff return.
On their second drive of the game, sophomore running back Cornelius Williams went around the left side and scampered 54 yards from the Apopka 23 to the Oak Ridge 23-yard line. After two penalties, Demetri Burch dropped back to pass, saw no one open, ran to the right side and then changed direction and outran the entire Pioneer defense for a 22-yard touchdown run. After a Logan Minniear extra point the Blue Darters took a 7-0 lead with 7:31 left in the first quarter.
After an Apopka interception, the Blue Darters drove 56 yards on six plays, scoring on a double reverse handoff from Burch to senior running back Deshawn Massey, who then handed off to senior wide receiver Damaris August who ran 15 yards for the Blue Darters second touchdown. After the extra point by Minniear, Apopka led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
On their first opportunity of the second quarter, Apopka started with a breakaway run for 54-yards by Massey. Two plays later Thompson took a direct snap from center and ran five yards for the Blue Darters third touchdown of the game. Minniear’s kick gave Apopka a 21-0 lead with 10:04 remaining in the half.
Five minutes later, Burch hit senior tight end Paul Fitzgerald for a 19-yard touchdown pass which gave the Blue Darters a 28-0 lead after the extra point.
Senior shutdown cornerback Byron Gainer intercepted a pass in man-to-man coverage on the next Oak Ridge possession, giving Apopka great field position at the Pioneer 41-yard-line. On the very next play, Massey ran a sweep to the right side and wasn’t touched until he reached the end zone on a 41-yard touchdown run. After the Minniear kick, Apopka led 35-0 with 4:09 left in the half.
On its final drive of the second quarter, the Blue Darters marched 55 yards in five plays and scored on a 30-yard inside screen pass from Burch to Massey to lead 42-0 after the extra point with :52 left before intermission.
Because the score was 42-0, the “running clock” went into effect in the second half which means the game time simply runs unless a timeout is called.
On its first possession of the third quarter, the Pioneers managed to avoid being shutout when Oak Ridge senior quarterback D’andre Weaver hit senior tight end Tyren Johnson on an 86-yard touchdown pass. The extra point made it a 42-7 score.
On the ensuing kickoff, Thompson went 90 yards for his second touchdown of the night. The kick from Minniear extended the lead to 49-7.
The final touchdown of the game came when backup freshman quarterback Jackson Darlington ran four yards for a touchdown. The extra point failed, but the lead was extended to 55-7, which is how the game ended.
The Blue Darters complete their district and regular season schedule at home next week when they meet Orlando Evans High School. The Trojans are 2-5 on the season and 0-2 in 8A District 4. The game is on Thursday, October 27th. Kickoff is at 7PM. If the Blue Darters win, it would be their first undefeated season since 1994.