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December 12, 2012
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Two teams that took on a pair of early-season losses each have bounced back to make it to the FHSAA Class 8A state championship game.
Apopka opened 1-2 but has won 12 consecutive games since then, while Weston Cypress Bay has won eight straight after dropping a game to 7A state semifinalist Bradenton Manatee.
Here are three questions to ponder before they meet Saturday night in the Citrus Bowl for the 8A title.
1. Will this feel almost like a home game for Apopka?
AHS supporters should be out en masse, as the stadium is about a 15-minute drive from Apopka. Their appearance alone should make this the most viewed of the eight title games.
Don't count out Cypress Bay bringing a decent-sized crowd of its own. This is the school's first-ever title-game appearance, and no doubt, there is excitement abounding in Weston.
The big question is with the Citrus Bowl being so mammoth, how big of a crowd does it take for noise to become a factor?
2. Can Apopka keep the Lightning from striking quickly?
Cypress Bay has scored 407 points this season, with 239 of those coming in the first and second quarters combined.
CBHS has put up just 69 points in the fourth quarter this season, but, in fairness, many of those games already were blowouts and the Lightning showed some compassion by playing backups.
3. Will Apopka be able to ground it out?
Led by junior Jevric Blocker's 1,617 yards, the Blue Darters have four players with at least 583 rushing yards in 2012.
The Cypress Bay defense, led by main mon Nico Marley, a Tulane linebacker commitment with 99 unassisted tackles this year, must stay as disciplined as it has all year.