Covering High School Sports in America
Photo by Marc Estrada

Zach Darlington left Saturday's game against Byrnes after a powerful hit left him unconscious.

Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) defeated Apopka (Fla.) in one of the biggest high school football games in the season, but the highly anticipated game was marred by a frightening injury to Apopka star quarterback Zack Darlington.

Darlington, a Nebraska commit and son of Apopka head coach Rick Darlington, was attempting to continue Apopka's rally in the fourth quarter with Byrnes leading 44-36.

As he scrambled out of bounds, Darlington was tackled hard, but cleanly by a Byrnes player and immediately hit the ground.

Darlington lay on the ground motionless for several minutes. Eventually ESPN, which was televising the game nationally, returned to its studio coverage as Darlington was carted off the field on a stretcher and subsequently airlifted via helicopter to a local hospital.

There were conflicting reports whether Darlington lost consciousness. ESPN announcers stated that when Darlington regained consciousness, he was able to move.

After play resumed, Byrnes tacked on another touchdown to win 51-36. Since 2004, Byrnes is 14-2 in games against opponents from other states.