2021 CLASS 8A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: Venice Dominates Apopka 35-7 for Indians' Third State Championship in 3 Tries
FLORIDA' 2021 CLASS 8A STATE CHAMPIONS, VENICE INDIANS: Venice caps 14-1 season with State Title [Photo Credit: B. Jackson, Florida Gridiron]
FORT LAUDERDALE -- Venice utilized their high-powered offensive weapons to thump Apopka 35-7 in Florida's 2021 Class 8A State Championship Saturday afternoon at Fort Lauderdale's DRV PNK Stadium. Venice QB Ryan Browne had a near-perfect outing completing 18 of 21 passes for 250 yards, 4 TD, and a pick, and connecting with 3 different receivers for scores.
BIG BAD BROWNE: Venice QB Ryan Browne hoists the championship trophy after having a BIG DAY with 18-21 for 250 yards and 4TD [Photo Credit: B. Jackson, Florida Gridiron]
Venice jumped ahead early with Browne connecting with Omari Hayes on a 60yd TD pass early in the 1st quarter.
Apopka would quickly respond less than 3 minutes later after a Zeldrick Roberts 2 yard rush to put their first points on the scoreboard and even the game.
Venice would drive right back, with Browne nailing a 22 yard TD pass to Keyon Sears for his first score of the game.
Venice DE Damon Wilson's controversial interception return for a TD soured the mood at DRV PNK Stadium with a close game being sprouted by a controversial call. Wilson rushed the line hard, was able to block Blue Darter QB Andrew McClain's pass with his extended left arm, only to catch it in the end zone with McClain immediately swatting it out of Wilson's possession. Some reviewing the replay questioned if Wilson had it long enough to be called a possession and ultimately a TD. Nonetheless, with the referee signaling TD, that's all that mattered: no instant replay exists within high school in Florida; thus, Wilson was awarded the PICK 6 in this State Championship game widening the lead going in at the half to 21-7.
WAS IT A TOUCHDOWN? Venice Junior DE Damon Wilson checks the video scoreboard at DRV PNK Stadium to see what the oos and ahhs were about [Photo Credit: B. Jackson, Florida Gridiron]
Venice would come out blazing in the second half with a 23 yard rush by Damarion Escort. 7 players later, Browne would a wide-open Keyon Sears for a nice 47 yd TD bomb, their second scoring connection of the game, to extend the lead to 28-7.
The momentum was clearly in Venice's favor... And the Indians didn't let up. Venice DB Myles Weston would rob Andrew McClain's pass with a beautiful diving stretched-out interception across the middle to give the ball back to Venice. Venice had a comfortable lead knowing that they had to start to milk the clock as well as troop down the field for points. The Indians put together a 13 play drive mid-third quarter, rushing 11 times to advance to the Blue Darters' red zone at the 20. Browne attempted to complete his 4TD of the game, but Apopka star DB Nikai Martinez swooped over for a beautiful interception thwarting the Indian's efforts to score.
Ryan Browne would connect with star WR Jayshon Platt on a quick hitch, shaking the corner and exhibiting galloping speed outrunning the angle of Apopka's safety for a 58 yard TD down the left sideline. The Senior playmaker Platt would lead all receivers with 108 yards on 7 catches and a TD.
Venice defense allowed only 1 completion all game... for negative -4 yards.
NO PASSING YARDS... NEGATIVE PASSING YARDS IN A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Apopka couldn't get geared up with their high octane rushing attack churned up, only amassing 119 yards on the ground. Venice's stifling defense only allowed 1 completion all game... for -4 yard loss. [We're checking the record books to see if any State Championship game amounted to no or NEGATIVE passing yards.]
Venice would force Apopka to punt on 7 of their 13 offensive possessions, forced two interceptions, and a turnover on downs. Venice DE Damon Wilson would lead the vaunted defense with 8 tackles, .5 sack, 2 Tackles for loss, 1 Pass Backup, 1 QB Hurry, and of course... a PICK SIX. Indians' LB Logan Ballard would also have 5 tackles, 2 Tackles for a loss and a Sack.
Venice is now 3-0 in State Championship Games... They come to big dance to WIN!
Venice has now won their 2nd State Championship in a span of 5 years, with the previous State Title coming in 2017 with offensive weapons Mr. Football and Javon Heiligh. Heiligh just finished a wonderful collegiate career at Coastal Carolina.
Congrats to Venice and Head Coach John Peacock on having a remarkable 2021 season capped with the pinnacle of another State Championship trophy headed back to Florida's SunCoast. The Indians were 14-1, with their only blemish, a six-point loss to eventual 2021 Class 4A Back-To-Back Champions Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons.
- Venice QB Ryan Browne completed 18 of 21 passes for 250 yards, 4 TD and a pick.
- Venice has 3 State Titles in 3 State Final Appearances.
Apopka Blue Darters
Official 2021 State Championship Game Page on Florida Gridiron
VIDEO: Florida's 2021 Class 8A State Champions, VENICE INDIANS
Celebrating Venice Indians' 35-7 Class 8A State Championship win over Apopka at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
MORE RELATED LINKS
2021 STATE CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL
2021 Class 8A Playoff Brackets
2021 FHSAA Final RPI Rankings
Venice Indians Team Hub
Apopka Blue Darters Team Hub
Orlando Metro Area
VIDEOS OF THE 2021 CLASS 8A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
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