Saturday, October 10, 2009

Blue Darters hold on

Apopka loses 3 fumbles but manages to top Miami Jackson
By Sam Gardner

Staff reporter

October 3, 2009

APOPKA — Apopka had a hard time holding onto the ball, but they were able to secure a victory Friday night at Roger Williams field, defeating Miami Jackson 29-15 to advance to 5-0 on the season.

The Blue Darters put the ball on the turf six times in the victory, losing three fumbles in the first half.

"We played about as bad as we can play, but we ran 40 offensive plays," Apopka Coach Rick Darlington said. "We knew if we could keep running plays we might be able to wear them down, and the defense played a lot better in the second half."

Junior running back Tom Smith muffed the game's opening kickoff, and the Generals (4-1) recovered the ball at the Apopka 18. Five plays later, an Alejandro Davila field goal put Jackson up 3-0.

Smith finished the game with 119 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.

On the second possession, the Blue Darters drove 76 yards in 13 plays, but quarterback Keon Brooks fumbled the ball at the Jackson 2-yard line to hand the ball back over to the Generals.

After forcing a Jackson punt, the Blue Darters offense took the field. This time, Quay Barnes coughed the ball up on the first play of the drive for the third Apopka turnover in as many possessions.

"We've only turned it over like once on a fumble all year, but today we struggled," Darlington said. "It's just fundamentals."

Jackson jarred the ball loose again on the next Apopka rush, but Smith recovered his own fumble, and seven plays later took a Brooks handoff six yards for the Blue Darters' first score.

A halftime jersey switch may have helped the Blue Darters to victory. After playing the first half in alternate black jerseys, Apopka came out for the second half in blue.

"Whenever we play in the black we're a little bit shaky, so at halftime I decided that's it they're retired," Darlington said. "We may burn them at midfield."

The Apopka offense finally got moving in the fourth quarter. A Donte Williams interception set Smith up for an 8-yard touchdown run, and after a Generals punt, Smith scored again from 28 yards out to put the Blue Darters up 29-15.

Barnes had 86 yards rushing and Brooks had 83 on the ground for Apopka.

Apopka 29, Miami Jackson 15

FIRST — J: Davila 28 FG. SECOND — A: Smith 6 run (Brooks run); J: Jasper 99 kick return (kick failed); A: Griffon 8 pass from Brooks (Catron kick); J: Mintz 5 pass from Therezie (kick failed). FOURTH — A: Smith 8 run (Catron kick); A: Smith 28 run (Catron kick).

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