Apopka holds off Jones in low-scoring spring football game in rainy conditions

Apopka defensive lineman Lorenzo Payne’s fumble return off a blocked punt was the difference in a spring game against Jones on Thursday night.

The Blue Darters won 10-7 on a rainy night at Jones High School. Payne was a standout, forcing a fumble, making tackles for loss and flustering Jones freshman quarterback Dereon Coleman with constant pressure. Jones coach Elijah Williams said scheduling a powerhouse team such as Apopka was an important test for a young quarterback and offensive line that included three freshmen.

“That’s the whole purpose. We didn’t want to play nobody but Apopka,” Williams said after the game. “I knew we were going to be young up front and I wanted my O-line to grow up. That’s the best way to grow up right there.”

TOS-OS0130264973 Apopka holds off Jones in low-scoring spring football game in rainy conditions
Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel

Jerrian Parker sprints for Jones’ only touchdown Thursday during a spring football matchup with Apopka.

Apopka, coming off an 11-4 season that ended in a state final overtime loss, held the Tigers to a touchdown, a long run by standout running back Jerrian Parker. Jones made it to the state semifinals last year with an 11-3 record.

Apopka coach Jeff Rolson and Williams commented on the atmosphere which featured packed bleachers on both sides of the field despite the rain and a 30-minute lightning delay.

A rainy game in the offseason looked like a rainy game in the offseason. The first play of the game was a fumble, and four consecutive drives late in the game ended in fumble recoveries for the defense, including a play that almost resulted in a touchdown as a Jones wide receiver attempted to stretch the ball over the pylon but coughed it up into the end zone.

Rolson thinks the Blue Darters will be even better in the fall and hopes to make another playoff run.

“We’ll be better than we were last year. It’ll just be determined by how good are other people,” he said. “We have the makings of a really good football team. We just got to get better and find ways to score points.”

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