CLASS 8A STATE SEMIFINAL Manatee (12-1) at Apopka (9-4)
When: 7:30 p.m.
On the air: 930-AM, WLSS
The scoop: Winners of 12 straight, the Hurricanes are looking for their eighth trip to a state final and third since 2009. ... K Nick Null, one of last week's heroes, has touchbacks on 62 percent of his kickoffs (47-for-76) and is averaging 35.8 yards on 46 punts. ... Manatee has 15 INTs, including three each by Jamarion McDonald and Malik Mitchell. ... Manatee is 2-4 in its past six state semifinals with all four defeats coming to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (2005-06, '10, '12). ... Coach John Booth is the only coach besides Joe Kinnan to Manatee into a state football semifinal. ... RB Johnnie Lang (2,088 yards) is only the second Hurricane to rush for at least 2,000 in a season. The other is Shevin Wiggins in 1993 (2,267). ... The Blue Darters are looking for their third straight trip to a state final and fourth overall under coach Rick Darlington, who has led the team to a pair state titles. ... OL Martez Ivey is ranked the country's top tackle by Rivals, has 16 Division I offers and is a U.S. Army Player of the Year finalist. ... Chandler Cox, who plays a variety of positions, will play at Auburn and enroll in January. He has rushed for 1,069 yards and 13 TDs while throwing for 381 yards and four TDs. Cox and Ivey earned invites to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. ... Demetri Burch is the Blue Darters' top rusher (1,243 yards, 17 TDs) and passer (965 yards, 9 TDs). ... Apopka has punted 25 times in 13 games. ... Apopka scores more than 42 points per game and gives up more than 21. ... Winner meets either Pembroke Pines Flanagan or Miami Columbus on Dec. 13 for the state championship.
Prediction: Apopka 35, Manatee 31.
-- Capsule by John Lembo, Herald staff writer