There are road trips in high school football that typically involve a 5-10 mile drive to another school in central Florida... And then there are road trips.
The Apopka Blue Darters traveled approximately 125 miles to St. John's, FL (which is between St. Augustine and Jacksonville) to take on the Bartram Trail Bears - the state 7-A runner-up in 2017. The Wekiva Mustangs went even further, to the outskirts of Atlanta - some 450 miles from Apopka - to take on the Georgia state champion North Gwinnett Bulldogs in the finale of the Freedom Bowl.
Both Apopka and Wekiva prevailed in impressive fashion against two state-ranked programs on the road. The Blue Darters held on to defeat the Bears 33-28, while the Mustangs beat the Bulldogs 28-14.
It looked like a track meet more than a football game at times.
The Apopka Blue Darters, ranked fourth in the latest AP state 8-A poll, ran wild against the Bartram Trail Bears, with three different rushers going over 150 yards and four different runners scoring touchdowns as Apopka took a 26-14 halftime lead on an astounding 391 rushing yards, and then held on to defeat the Bears 33-28 to give the Blue Darters a 2-0 record for the season.
Jecoryan Davis-Hamilton led all rushers with 192 yards and a touchdown, followed by Cornelius Williams with 181 yards and a touchdown, Akeem Brown with 150 yards, while Eric Wright had two touchdown runs. In all Apopka had 613 rushing yards and five touchdown runs.
The Blue Darters return home this Friday to face the Lakeland Dreadnaughts, which is Blue Darter Head Coach Rick Darlington's alma mater. Lakeland is also 2-0 on the season and defeated the Blue Darters in Lakeland 42-35 last season.
A Georgia newspaper described the Wekiva Mustang defense as "wicked" in a preview article about the Freedom Bowl, and that was certainly how they played against the North Gwinnett Bulldogs.
For the second straight week, the Mustangs wreaked havoc with its opponent's offense, forcing five fumbles, two interceptions, four turnovers, allowing only 37 rushing yards and even scoring a touchdown in a 28-14 victory in the finale of the Freedom Bowl, which featured six games between high school powerhouses throughout the nation.
Junior Wekiva running back Supreme Richardson ran for 114 yards, while the Mustangs do-it-all senior Brandon Hill scored all three Wekiva touchdowns on offense, and intercepted a pass on defense, as Wekiva improved its record to 2-0 on the year, and ranked first in the latest AP state 8-A poll.
The Mustangs return home next Friday to take on the Winter Park Wildcats (2-0). The Blue Darters defeated the Wildcats 33-6 in the state playoffs last season.
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