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August 22, 2013The Byrnes Rebels open up the season with a bang, hosting Florida 8A defending champion Apopka Blue Darts on Saturday. With two high-octane offenses on the field we could see a 100 point ball game. The Rebels have the top air-attack in the state and the Blue Darts won the state championship last year in a 53-50 shoot out.
THE MATCH UPS:
When Byrnes has the ball:
The Rebels offense is explosive and led by the most productive quarterback in the state, senior Shuler Bentley, who tossed 4,700 yards last season. The receiver corps is strong and we'll see big play from all-stater Shaedon Meadors and the rest of the Rebels' outstanding receiver corps.
The Blue Darts defense return six starters to the line up but have a huge hole to fill with the graduation of standout linebacker Garrett Spek. Look for defensive end Johny Robinson to take over that defensive anchor position at linebacker and for the secondary to make an attempt to cover the Rebels receivers.
When Apopka has the ball:
Quarterback Zack Darlington is one of the top rated quarterbacks in Central Florida and will headline an offense group that has 10 returning starters. Running backs Daquan Isom and Chandler Cox will both be threats against the Rebels defense and Isom can be utilized as a receiver and is dangerous in space.
The Rebels must improve on this side of the football. Last season, they gave up 21 points per game and that won't work against explosive offenses. Speed helps them as they are able to shut down open spaces quickly.
Byrnes is loaded with star power. At the top of the list is quarterback Shuler Bentley. This team is a who's who in high school football in the upstate area.
The Blue Darts have Zack Darlington, who was listed as the top quarterback in the Central Florida area but they also have one of 2015's top players in offensive tackle Martez Ivey (6-5, 271).
KEYS TO GAME:
The Rebels simply need to put pressure on Darlington and keep the Blue Dart playmakers, mainly Isom, from getting into space.
Apopka needs to control the ball on offense with some ground game. Limiting the number of plays the offense gets may be their only chance of keeping the Rebels from scoring high numbers.
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