Apopka hold off Lake Mary for a region title

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Led by quarterback Tyson Davison, who rushed for 111 yards, and running back Zedrick Roberts, who rushed for 83-yard and two touchdowns, the Apopka Blue Daters captured a 30-23 victory over Lake Mary in the Class 4M-Region 1 championship, Friday night.

“We learned that we have to make adjustments and those adjustments we made the last few weeks have helped us,” Davison said. “Reading keys, make sure we executive the opportunities.”

Apopka quarterback Tyson Davison kept the chains moving with his 111-yards rushing, Friday night, and the Blue Darters defeated Lake Mary, 30-23, to win the Class 4M-Region 1 championship.

Photo by Lynn Ramsey

“We know we had to hit open lanes, and if we saw the hole to just strike them,” Roberts said.

Apopka coach Jeff Rolson said the Blue Darters excelled at times, but then lamented their woes. They committed 12 penalties for 98 yards, with some at key times.

“It was a nailbiter,” Rolson said. “It didn’t have to be a nailbiter.”

Noah Grubbs nearly brought the sixth-ranked Rams (8-4) back. The freshman completed 19 of 35 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns. Caden Harshbarger caught four passes for 93 yards and a touchdown for the Rams, who also got six catches for 95 yards and a touchdown from Carson Hindshaw and two catches for 76 yards and a score from Markel Jones. Manquez Lang ran for 33 yards on nine carries, including runs of 10 and 13 yards to set up a fourth-quarter Lake Mary field goal.

Rams coach Scott Perry said mistakes doomed his team in its previous loss to Apopka. Lake Mary repeated its woes, committing two fumbles that led to Apopka touchdowns.

The game turned on those fumbles in a 5:31 span in the second quarter. After Jonathan Colon intercepted Davison early in the second quarter, Apopka’s Kaven Call recovered a botched hand-off at the Lake Mary 13. Four plays later, Roberts’ 1-yard touchdown run put the Blue Darters up 16-14.

“We were trying to overcome those turnovers,” Perry said. “We gave the ball to them twice at the 10-yard line. It’s hard to beat a really good team like that. Once we stopped turning the ball over, the offense started clicking a little bit, and the defense stopped them when we had to at the end, they’re a good team. Wish them luck.”

Perry laments the loss of 23 seniors. But he also said they fought through adversity. “Region finals two of the last three years is pretty good,” he said. “The underclassmen, they know where we’re at, hopefully work hard in the off-season to take it to the next level.”

The Blue Darters reached their fourth consecutive state semifinal. They will face third-seeded Palm Beach Central, a team making its first state semifinal after a 14-10 win over Palm Beach Gardens. Call said the key is focusing on that week’s opponent.

Rolson said he hasn’t seen any film on Palm Beach Central.

“They’re good,” Rolson said. “Everybody’s good at this point. We find a way to win. That’s what good teams do in the playoffs.

“We’re alive. We’ve got seven days of air left.”

Apopka will be joined in the 4M state semifinals by neighboring rival Ocoee, which routed Tarpon Springs East Lake, 43-19, in the Region 2 final on Friday.

Apopka and Ocoee, which are just eight miles apart opened their seasons against each other in a contest won by the Blue Darters, 13-12. Now, they are each one win away from a rematch in the 4M state title game. Ocoee must go on the road to face top-seeded Miami Columbus, which advanced with a 31-3 rout of Doral Academy.

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