Saturday, October 24, 2009

Apopka devours rival East Ridge

By Jeff Gardenour
October 24, 2009

APOPKA — Apopka's talented and speedy underclassmen made sure the Blue Darters' senior night was a memorable one on Friday.

With last year's regular-season loss to East Ridge perhaps still fresh in the minds of Apopka's players, the Class 6A, third-ranked Blue Darters zipped past the Knights 56-14 in a key District 5 game.

"I'm kind of surprised," Apopka Coach Rick Darlington said. "They are a heck of a well-coached team. It was a good night for us."

Led by junior quarterback Keon Brooks, junior running back Tom Smith and sophomore running back Quay Barnes, unbeaten Apopka (7-0, 4-0) utilized the big play in remaining undefeated and in first place in the district. East Ridge (4-3, 2-2) has now lost two consecutive games.

Smith rushed 18 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns and caught two touchdown passes, and Brooks ran seven times for 114 yards and completed 4-of-8 passes for 95 yards and two scores as Apopka forced a running clock midway through the third quarter.

"This was real big," Brooks said. "We came out with intensity and were excited to play."

Brooks threw touchdown passes of 41 and 37 yards to Smith, and ran for touchdowns of 71 and 4 yards.

"They just physically kicked our fanny the entire night," East Ridge Coach Bud O'Hara said.

Barnes' kickoff return followed a 92-yard kickoff return by East Ridge's Fred Maxwell and was part of a wild four-touchdown flurry in the final 1 minute, 45 seconds of the first half.

Apopka's scoring burst helped it overcome a brief 7-0 deficit.

Apopka (7-0, 4-0) and Olympia (5-2, 4-0) are now the two teams tied for first in 6A, District 5. They meet next Friday at Olympia.

Apopka 56, East Ridge 14

FIRST — ER: Payen 39 run (Seaman kick); A: T. Smith 41 pass from Brooks (Catron kick); A: Brooks 71 run (kick failed).
SECOND — A: Brooks 4 run (T. Smith run); A: T. Smith 63 run (Catron kick); ER: Maxwell 92 kickoff return (Seaman kick); A: Barnes 98 kickoff return (Catron kick); A: T. Smith 37 pass from Brooks (Catron kick).
THIRD — A: T. Smith 14 run (Catron kick).
FOURTH — A: Capobianco 32 run (Catron kick).

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