Varsity Preps

Kosnitzky’s Korner; Guandolo and Darlington: A Question of Judgment.

When Marc Guandolo and Rich Darlington met with their teams in the 8A State Finals last year, they were both at another pinnacle of their careers.  While Darlington’s Apopka narrowly knocked off Guandolo’s Cypress Bay, there was much excitement for this year.


This became more evident when both schools learned they would play opening games on ESPN.  The Blue Darters and the Lightning would both have long tough days which was only one of multiple similarities that these coaches would experience in their big games. Apopka would lose to Byrnes (SC) in a 51-36 shootout.  Apopka QB, Zach Darlington would have his ups and downs but more on him in a moment. Cypress Bay, on the other hand, trailed 14-0 in the first few minutes of their game against American Heritage Plantation and never bounced back. The team from Weston, Florida would only score one offensive touchdown and lose 38-14.


The losses for both we would learn was secondary. For Apopka, late in the game, Zach Darlington would receive a hit severe enough that he initially lay motionless as ESPN would decide not to show is removal from the field live.  After the incident with Georgia High School Player, DeAntre Turman, who recently died on the field, we have become more attune to disasters on the field.



What complicates the situation is that the Apopka Head Coach and Quarterback are also father and son and yet dad decided to coach his team and not follow his son off the field.  Things looked more difficult when the last 20 seconds on the air showed Apopka’s last play followed by the helicopter leaving the stadium with the injured quarterback. Zach Darlington suffered a concussion and has a good prognosis. However, many questioned his father, Rich Darlington’s judgment.


Marc Guandolo actions also involved judgment. After Cypress Bay QB Lucas Tellefsen overthrew a pass, the coach slapped him on the head when the young man returned to the sidelines which was seen on national TV. Guandolo has since apologized and was issued a two week suspension from coaching.


We can not debate everyone’s actions. These two gentleman have thrived in being successful partly because of their judgment. Regardless of your opinion of either situation, both gentlemen have fine reputations with players who are lucky to have them as coaches.



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