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AFA is finding success out of the blue

Josh Burch’s move from receiver to quarterback has lit up the Blue Jackets’ offense. He has thrown five touchdowns.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Josh Burch’s move from receiver to quarterback has lit up the Blue Jackets’ offense. He has thrown five touchdowns.

ST. PETERSBURG — Admiral Farragut Academy coach Chris Miller had no idea what to expect this season.

In the spring, the Blue Jackets' game was canceled because of lightning. The regular-season opener was canceled for the same reason. The following week an opponent backed out of a game.

"It was really frustrating," Miller said. "We have a young team and needed game experience. It was not the way you want to start off."

So it was expected Admiral Farragut would be sluggish in its delayed season opener, a 24-10 loss to Northside Christian.

Since then the unexpected has happened. The Blue Jackets have been winning — a lot.

Admiral Farragut has won four straight, the second-longest streak in the county, and can secure a playoff spot in Class B, District 5 with a win over Cambridge tonight.

"I think our confidence is at an all-time high," Miller said.

There are a few other things Miller can attribute to the turnaround.

For starters, the Blue Jackets (4-1, 4-0) dropped in classification from A to B.

"We were one of the smallest schools in Class A and were playing some strong programs like Fort Meade," Miller said. "Now we're out the way of those teams and in a classification that we really belong in."

Another key was having Josh Burch healthy.

A state champion in the triple jump, Burch is AFA's most versatile — and athletic — player. But he missed four games last year with a broken hand.

This season, Miller moved Burch from receiver to quarterback and he has responded with five touchdown passes and three rushing touchdowns. He also has scored three times on returns.

"I think everyone has had a desire to get better," Burch said. "As for me, I wanted the ball in my hands this year and wanted to be a leader."

If the Blue Jackets win tonight, they will secure their first playoff appearance since 2003. And that would set up a game Oct. 30 against Lakeland Victory Christian for the district title.

Burch is thinking beyond that.

"We don't want to just make the playoffs," he said. "We want to go deep into the playoffs. We're trying to go big this year."

AFA is finding success out of the blue 10/22/09 [Last modified: Thursday, October 22, 2009 9:31pm]
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