It was a return to normalcy for the Apopka Blue Darters Football Team this evening at the University High School Football Field. Big plays, quick touchdowns, overwhelming defense and a running clock in the second half because of a one-sided score.
There is always the fear of a letdown after such an epic battle against Dr. Phillips last week in which the Blue Darters held on to win 15-14. But instead of a letdown, Apopka scored on 8 out of 10 offensive drives and ran the University High Cougars off the field 54-3.
The win moved the #1 ranked (in the Class 8A Florida High School Football Poll) Blue Darters to a 5-0 record, while University remained winless at 0-5.
University opened the game with a three-plays-and-out drive, which ended on a sack by Apopka senior linebacker David Britzius. The Blue Darters then started their scoring with a five-play, 55-yard drive capped by senior quarterback Demetri Burch's 13-yard touchdown run. After senior kicker Logan Minniear's extra point, Apopka took an early 7-0 lead. The drive took just over one minute off the clock.
The second drive looked very similar. University again went three-and-out, but then a high snap caused a blocked punt, recovered by the Blue Darters on the University 3-yard line. One play later senior running back Jordan Thompson scored on a 3-yard touchdown run. Minniears's kick made it 14-0.
University showed some signs of life on their third drive, but stalled and gave the ball back to Apopka on their own 35-yard-line. Senior running back Deshawn Massey took a short pass from Burch for a 50-yard gain all the way to the University 15. 5 plays later Burch hit senior wide receiver Damaris August on an 18-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 21-0 after a Minniear kick. This time the drive went six-plays 65-yards and took 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
Another bad snap on a University punt gave Apopka great field position on the University 26 yard line. 2 plays and 40 seconds later, Burch hit senior wide receiver Damaris August in stride for a 23-yard touchdown pass. A missed extra point gave Apopka a 27-0 lead with 7 minutes left in the half.
After another Cougar drive went nowhere, junior punt return specialist Cayvian Holmes ran his second punt return of the season back for a touchdown to give Apopka a 34-0 lead after Minniear's extra point with 5:30 left in the half.
And after another 3-and-out from University, Apopka scored on a 5-yard Birch run for a touchdown. This drive took all of fours, play 51 seconds and covered 42 yards. The missed extra point gave Apopka a 40-0 lead, which they took to halftime.
The only thing that slowed the Apopka's offense was a running "mercy" clock, but it only slowed the Blue Darters down a bit.
August took the second half kickoff 89 yards to the University 11 yard line, and four plays later Thompson scored on a 7-yard run to up the Apopka lead to 47-0 after Minniear's kick.
The next time Apopka had the ball, junior wide receiver Birthel Bridges scored on a 75-yard touchdown run to end the third quarter and because of the running clock, it was the last time the Darters would get the ball on offense, but it was enough.
University ended the game with a 19-yard field goal by junior kicker Kiersten Nevergold who also plays for the University Girl’s Soccer Team. Unofficially it was the first time a girl has ever scored against the Apopka Football Team.
Next week the Blue Darters travel to Winter Garden to face divisional rival West Orange High School. Last season the Warriors defeated Apopka both in the regular season and in the playoffs, however West Orange is struggling this season with a 1-4 record. Apopka has now outscored its five opponents by a score of 244-24!
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