Monday, December 1, 2014

Football: The skinny on Apopka

Manatee heads back to the Orlando area Friday to face Apopka in a Class 8A state semifinal with the winner off to the state championship game Dec. 13 at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Here is a primer on the Blue Darters.

HOW THEY GOT HERE: The Blue Darters were the runner-up in District 4 and defeated District 3 champ Oviedo in the first round of the playoffs before blasting Winter Garden West Orange, 42-0, after losing to the Warriors during the regular season. Apopka then won a shootout over Jacksonville First Coast, 64-48, to claim the Region 1 title.
QUITE THE QUARTET: Apopka's four losses this season all came to playoff teams: Orlando Oak Ridge, West Orange, Plantation American Heritage and Orlando Edgewater.
VERY OFFENSIVE: The Blue Darters have scored 190 points during their current four-game winning streak, though this is nothing new: Apopka set a state scoring record last season with 786 points despite losing Nebraska-bound quarterback Zack Darlington to an early-season injury.
HE'S NO  1:  Senior lineman Martez Ivey (6-foot-5, 271 pounds) is ranked the nation's top offensive tackle by Rivals. Florida State, Ohio State and Auburn are among the 16 schools to make Ivey an offer.
POSTSEASON PATTERN: Apopka has made the playoffs every year since 2000 and won state titles in '01 and 2012. Both championships came under current coach Rick Darlington, who returned to Apopka in 2006 after spending 2003-05 coaching Valdosta High in Georgia.  The Blue Darters lost last year's Class 8A state title game to South Dade.
QUOTABLE: "People  call  it a Pop Warner offense, and that's not a joke: Pop Warner invented it in 1907. Jim Thorpe was his tailback, that's how old it is." Rick Darlington on Apopka's single wing offense.


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  2. Apopka Coach Rick Darlington has variables to the single wing and he has his own Jim Thorpe in a player Chandler Cox.

    Cox is a horse that can run, block, pass and catch. Auburn is getting a stud.

    The Apopka defense has stepped up in a big way. The offense is all about timing and the timing hit perfectly against West Orange a local rival team that was loaded and Apopka shut them out 42-0 at their place in the second round of the playoffs.

    Apopka is hot, but whoever comes out of greater Miami is gonna be loaded and ready to rumble.


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