FHSAA 8A football state championship preview: Apopka vs. Venice

The 2021 Florida High School football state championships continue this week with the 4A, 5A, 6A, 7A and 8A title games at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

In the 8A title game, the Apopka Blue Darters (12-2) take on the Venice Indians (13-1) on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET.

Here is everything you need to know about the 8A FHSAA Football championship game:


How did Apopka get here?

Defeated Creekside 42-0 (Regional Quarterfinals), defeated Bartram Trail 34-3 (Regional Semifinals), defeated Seminole (Sanford) 28-27 (OT) (Regional Finals), defeated Treasure Coast 21-0 (State Semifinals).

Players to watch for Apopka:

Quarterback Andrew McClain- 58.7% completion, 716 passing yards, 8 touchdown passes and 4 interceptions (Senior)- 50 carries, 196 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns

Running back Keyondray Jones- 184 carries, 1207 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns (Junior)

Running back/Linebacker Zeldrick Roberts- 73 carries, 348 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns (Junior)

Athlete Quincy Frazier- 25 carries, 149 rushing yards; 30 receptions, 389 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns (6 rush, 5 receiving) (Senior)

Defensive End Tra’vion Barnes- 89 total tackles (Leads team) (Senior)

Linebacker Josiah Robinson- 71 total tackles (49 solo) (Senior)

Defensive End Kaven Call- 52 total tackles, 7.0 sacks (Leads team), 5 tackles for loss (Junior)

Defensive Lineman Michael Spain- 43 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss (Leads team) (Senior)

Defensive Back Nikai Martinez- 2 interceptions (Leads team) (UCF commit) (Senior)

What’s at stake for Apopka?

The Blue Darters are seeking their fourth football state title in school history and first since 2014.

How did Venice get here?

Defeated Plant City 55-7 (Regional Quarterfinals), defeated Sarasota Riverview 56-14 (Regional Semifinals), defeated West Orange 49-7 (Regional Finals), defeated Columbus (Miami) 35-7 (State Semifinals)

Players to watch for Venice:

Quarterback Ryan Browne- 58.4% completion, 2381 passing yards, 35 touchdowns (27 pass, 8 rush), 6 interceptions (Senior); 102 carries, 519 rushing yards

Running back Damarion Escort- 209 carries, 1508 rushing yards, 21 touchdowns (Senior) (Murray State commit)

Running back Alvin Johnson- 88 carries, 635 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns (Sophomore)

Running back Jamarice Wilder- 51 carries, 441 rushing yards, 6 touchdowns (Freshman)

Wide receiver Jayshon Platt- 55 receptions, 962 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns (Senior) (Holds offers from Florida Atlantic and Navy)

Wide receiver Omari Hayes- 60 receptions, 768 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns (Senior)

Linebacker Martin Ramos- 109 total tackles (Leads team) (Senior)

Linebacker Logan Ballard- 101 total tackles, 8 tackles for loss (Senior)

Defensive End George Philip- 89 total tackles, 8.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery (Senior)

Defensive End Damon Wilson- 80 total tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 14 sacks (Leads team) (Holds over 15 D-1 offers) (Junior)

Defensive Back Elliot Washington- 54 total tackles, 4 interceptions (Tied for team lead) (Holds offers from Alabama, Georgia, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State and others) (Junior)

Linebacker Desavion Cassaway- 85 total tackles, 4 interceptions (Senior)

Safety Myles Weston- 3 interceptions (Senior)

What’s at stake for Venice?

The Indians are seeking their third football state title in school history (2000, 2017).

Score Prediction

Venice 35, Apopka 24


Date: Saturday, December 18, 2021

Time: 1 p.m. ET

Location: DRV PNK Stadium- Fort Lauderdale, FL

LIVE Stream: https://fhsaa.boxcast.com/#/broadcasts/axk7af1jayjrttyj6i2g (Non-Spectrum Customers)

http://www.myspectrumsports.com/floridagames/player.html?broadcast=axk7af1jayjrttyj6i2g (Spectrum Customers)

Photo Courtesy: Willie Kelly (Big County Preps/Big Red Sports)

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