The state of Florida and all its fervent football fans are still talking about one of the best state-championship games in the history of the Sunshine state.Chandler Cox
rushed for three touchdowns, including the game-winner with 1 minute, 29 seconds remaining to give Apopka
a 53-50 8A title-game win over Cypress Bay (Weston) Saturday night at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
It was the third highest-scoring game in Florida finals history, and
featured six lead changes. There looked like a seventh change when
Cypress Bay (12-3) drove almost the length of the field following Cox's
last score, but Rakeem Smith
intercepted a pass in the end zone.
Quarterback Zack Darlington
accounted for 379 yards for Apopka (13-2), which scored on six of its first seven possessions. But Cypress Bay came storming back behind receiver Alex Montgomery
(nine catches, 199 yards and three touchdowns) and Matt Dayes
(170 yards rushing, four TDs).
Montgomery hauled in a 22-yard touchdown between three defenders with 5:27 left to give Cypress Bay a 50-46 lead. But Apopka drove right down the field capped by Cox's winning score of 2 yards.
Smith's game-sealing interception came after J.J. Simmons
, another sophomore, tipped the pass up in the air. Smith made a spectacular diving grab.
"We hadn't stopped them all night and my gosh we did it," Apopka coach Rick Darlington told the Orlando Sentinel
. "We fought so hard and so did they. Nobody deserved to lose this one."
It was the first time a Florida team scored 50 points and lost in the state finals.
Darlington rushed for 125 yards and threw for two scores. Apopka senior kicker Brett Wilson
finished off a remarkable season with a 45-yard field goal. He was perfect actually, making all seven of his field goal tries and all 66 extra points.