The Apopka Blue Darters continued their prolific playoff record last Friday night with a 22-13 victory over the Evans Trojans. Since 2018, the Blue Darters have an astounding 19-5 record in the postseason, which includes four trips to the final four and three state championship finals in the last four years.
But now, in the 4M-Region 1 semifinal, a familiar rival emerges - the Sanford-Seminole Seminoles.
The Apopka-Seminole rivalry has defined every season for both teams since 2019. This will be the sixth meeting between the two perennial powerhouses in the last five years.
In 2019, Apopka defeated Seminole in the regional finals and went on to the state championship.
In 2020, Seminole defeated Apopka 28-24 in the state semifinals and won the state championship.
In 2021, Apopka defeated Seminole 28-27 in the regional finals and went on to the state championship.
In 2022, Apopka beat Seminole 24-23 in week four and went on to the state championship.
In 2023, the Seminoles are 9-2 after winning the 4M District 2 title and a one-sided 42-3 victory over Hagerty in the first round of the playoffs. They also defeated the Blue Darters 21-3 earlier in the year.
But a funny thing happened after that loss... Apopka turned its season around.
The Blue Darters fell to 3-2 after the loss, and in those first five games, didn't score over 20 points. But after the loss, Apopka won five of its next six games and hasn't scored less than 20 points since.
As is often the case, Apopka plays its best football in the latter part of the season. But the Seminoles are also on a run of late with four straight wins, including an epic 29-28 victory over Lake Mary to win the district championship.
So who is the favorite? That's hard to determine. Apopka is the #3 seed, while Seminole is the #2 seed. The Seminoles are 6-0 this season at home, but Apopka owns a 3-2 record over the Seminole in the last five meetings, including two road wins.
But the most interesting statistic in this series that further proves how evenly matched the two teams are is this - in the last five games, the total score of Apopka-Seminole is 99-99!
It can't get any closer.
The winner of the Apopka-Seminole game meets the winner of the Lake Mary-Mandarin game in the regional finals. Kickoff is at 7 pm in Sanford on the campus of Seminole High School.