By Buddy Collings Staff reporter
12:36 AM EDT, September 19, 2009
APOPKA — Host Apopka came up empty three times in the red zone Friday. But in a game where two fierce defenses bowed up with their backs to the goal line, the Blue Darters needed only two scores to prevail against rival Edgewater 15-6.
Blue Darters senior Bradley Gallon punctuated his strong performance at middle linebacker by breaking up a fourth-and-goal pass early in the final quarter with unbeaten Apopka (3-0) leading by 15.
Edgewater (1-2) scored on its next possession to close the gap, but Apopka covered an onside kick try and then chewed up the final four minutes, 54 seconds.
"It was about what we thought it would be," Apopka Coach Rick Darlington said. "We have a lot of respect for those guys [Edgewater]. Our defense played outstanding and our offense took great care of the ball."
Apopka came in averaging 37 points and marched into the red zone on six of its first seven possessions that weren't stopped by the clock. But Edgewater's defense stonewalled two drives that reached the 6-yard line and another that stalled at the 19.
The Blue Darters won early field position for the only score of the first half — a 5-yard keeper by quarterback Keon Brooks.
Apopka, ranked No. 2 in the Sentinel Super 16 and fourth in the Class 6A state poll, went up by two TDs when Tom Smith scored with 2:57 remaining in the third quarter. Smith, a freight train of a fullback, gained 118 yards on 26 carries. Sophomore Quay Barnes (7 carries, 71 yards) set the TD up with a 31-yard dash.
Class 4A Edgewater, ranked No. 7 in the Super 16, was led by elusive quarterback Kent Gainous. The 6-2, 190-pound senior completed three passes after scrambling for 18 on the Eagles' fourth quarter TD drive. He threw to Saun Raigne for the score.
"That's what high school football is all about. Two teams battling all the way through," said Edgewater Coach Bill Gierke.
Apopka 15, Edgewater 6
SECOND – A: Brooks 5 run (Beary kick). THIRD – A: Smith 1 run (Smith run). FOURTH – E: Raigne 5 pass from Gainous (kick failed).
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