Spring Football Is Back at APK


The Blue and White revisits the Apopka Football team as they kick off their spring season, looking to punch another ticket in the State Championship game for the second time in three years. No one would have thought that the Apopka Football team would be state title contenders for three consecutive years after the absence of legendary  Coach Darlington. He left to coach elsewhere in Alabama. With Coach Rolson stepping in as the head man, big shoes had to be filled as Apopka had not made a state title appearance since they last won it in 2012.

Reflecting on the 2020 football season, the Blue Darters lost on a last-second touchdown in the state title game. In comparison, this last year in the COVID-19 world, the darters fell short in a hard-fought state semi-final game. Now, as the 2021-22 season is approaching, the boys in blue have some unfinished business to take care of, with a state championship number one on their list. With spring football finally back after not having it due to COVID-19 last year. The Blue and White heard from Coach Rolson, Nikai Martinez, and Josiah Robinson on what they are looking forward to accomplishing in this spring season that will carry over to the regular season in late August.

Coach Rolson highlighted  his anticipation and excitement towards this spring season, as it was snatched away from the boys last year. Asked about how he felt regarding the spring season this year, he said, “Our entire staff is excited to be able to get out and practice. It is great to be around our team again. The kids seem to be upbeat and happy to be getting back to normal.” The aftermath of 2020 is finally starting to settle down as state and national governments are starting to lift restrictions so that normal life can resume again. Although the biggest age group that was affected was the older generation due to their immune systems inability to fight the virus off,  the younger generation was not able to socialize with their friends, and in some cases family.

Coach Rolson spoke about the team’s new goals for the spring season as he explained, “We want to just have fun, installing a new offense will be a challenge so we want to see how that goes as well. As well as we need to find some guys to fill some spots and as always build some depth.” Regarding the JV football team having a spring season Coach Rolson said…”It’s not shocking to me at all, the kids need to socialize and play for mental and physical health. When we can physically see them daily it will allow us to monitor and mentor them particularly concerning academic performance, as COVID-19 did not do our team GPA any favors.”

Junior, Josiah Robinson, who has played outside and inside linebacker for the boys in blue, looks forward to continuing this historic run. He gave The Blue and White a rundown of last season during COVID-19 and how the team and himself plan to take advantage of the spring season this year. He said, “Everything was the same this year football-wise except the rules that came with COVID-19. The coaches were always on us about wearing our masks, staying socially distanced when we were not practicing, making the right decisions on the weekend outside of school. As for the football aspect, we still had the same laser focus even though there were limited fans. The guys and I  wanted to get back down to states so bad to redeem ourselves from last year, but fell short in the state semi-final game.” Josiah also mentioned that with it being his senior year, and seeing how things can change in an instant in our world, he will make sure to take every opportunity that he gets in spring to attack it with 110 percent. 

Lastly, The Blue and White heard from Nikai Martinez, who has played cornerback with the boys and blue since freshman year. He explained how he feels this spring will help the team and the difference it will make from last year’s season. He stated, “I personally just feel like last year’s season was rushed and thrown together, although I am thankful we were able to play because we had seniors who would not have had an opportunity to finish out their high school football career.” Nikai will be a rising senior next year, planning to leave his name among the Apopka greats, with all power five schools currently recruiting him. Finally, he spoke about how he feels about the spring season. He said, “I am glad we are having one this year because I feel like last season it really put us behind the eight ball when the season started in August. It is also good to have the JV because it gives us some extra guys to rate around who may be ready to play on the varsity team in the fall. For me personally, I feel that with it being my last year I am going all out and not leaving anything to regret because this whole COVID thing was crazy last year.”