It’s been a terrific start to the 2018 season for the Apopka Blue Darters.
First, they posted an impressive 47-0 win over the Ocoee Knights on opening night in Apopka, and then they went on the road to defeat the Bartram Trail Bears, the 7-A state runner-up in 2017, 33-28. The back-to-back wins vaulted the Blue Darters (2-0) to a #4 state ranking heading into two more games against state powerhouses Lakeland, and Dr. Phillips.
But the first dose of bad news hit the Apopka program hard this week when it was learned that their star running back, junior Jecoryan Davis-Hamilton, was lost for the season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his knee suffered in the second half of the Bartram Trail game. Davis-Hamilton had amassed 192 rushing yards and a touchdown in that game before limping off the field.
Last season, Davis-Hamilton ran for 1,146 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore, and consequently has scholarship offers already from Auburn, Cincinnati, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, and Ohio State according to 247sports.com.
According to several medical websites, recovery from an ACL/MCL tear can take from six to nine months depending on its severity.
The loss is a blow to a free-wheeling Blue Darter offense that at times seems unstoppable, but despite the absence of perhaps its best offensive weapon, Apopka is loaded at running back, as witnessed by its 613 rushing yards and five touchdown display it put on the Bears. Senior running back Cornelius Williams will take the lead position in the stable of thoroughbred running backs after rushing for 745 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns in 2017, and 181 yards and a touchdown against Bartram Trail. He will be accompanied by junior running back/wide receiver Akeem Brown, sophomore Eric Wright, along with junior quarterback Jackson Darlington.
The Blue Darters take on the 2-0 Lakeland Dreadnaughts this Friday night at Roger Williams Field on the campus of Apopka High School. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 PM.