Week three in local high school football told the tale of two teams heading in different directions. The Apopka Blue Darters erased a two-touchdown deficit to remain undefeated, while the Wekiva Mustangs lost their second game in a row, falling to 1-2.
There was a time when Apopka-DP was an early-season rivalry game. Both the Blue Darters and Panthers were destined for the postseason, and the outcome always seemed to come down to the last minutes of the game.
Ten straight Blue Darter wins have put a bit of a damper on the rivalry, but Friday night, the last-second outcome reminded both schools of how close these games usually are.
Trailing 14-3 at halftime, Apopka rallied in the second half to win 18-14. The win kept the Blue Darters undefeated (3-0) on the season heading into their bye week. Dr. Phillips fell to 1-2.
The Panthers Damien Jackson opened the scoring when he returned a fumble 31 yards for a touchdown with 7:40 left in the second quarter.
Dr. Phillips increased the lead to 14-0 when quarterback Stanley Anderson scored on a 12-yard keeper following an Apopka turnover with 5:20 left in the half. Anderson was 6-of-22 passing for 128 yards.
Blue Darter placekicker Hayden Kosicki’s 35-yard field goal was Apopka's only score of the half, making it 14-3 heading into the third quarter.
Apopka got within three late in the third quarter when Kelvin Payne ran for a 34-yard touchdown, and then Reggie McBride scored a two-point conversion, cutting the DP lead to 14-11 with two minutes left in the period.
Then in the final quarter, the Blue Darters took their first lead when McBride scored from one yard out, and an extra point gave Apopka an 18-14 lead with 8:51 left to play. Apopka's defense, which has only allowed 21 points in three games, held the Panthers the rest of the way.
The Blue Darters are off next Friday but return home on September 22nd to host the Edgewater Eagles, who are also 3-0 on the season.
The Wekiva Mustangs lost their second straight game of the season, losing to Lake Minneola 34-21 to fall to 1-2 on the season. This was second time the two schools met, with Lake Minneola holding on to win 30-27 last year leading 30-7.
The Mustangs return home Thursday night to face the West Orange Warriors, who are also 1-2 on the season.