Apopka safety Rakeem Smith, the leading tackler for the Class 8A state champion Blue Darters last season, will miss tonight's home opener against Orlando Oak Ridge with a broken bone in his right forearm.
Smith (5-8, 175) suffered the break in the Darters' season-opening loss at Duncan (S.C.) Byrne High last week, but he played through the injury. He was sporting a soft cast in practice this week, but did not participate in contact drills. He was in obvious pain on Wednesday even during the running portion of practice.
The break is not a complete fracture and his timetable for return in unknown.
Smith was the player who came up with the key interception at the end of the Class 8A state championship game last year to seal the Darters' 53-50 victory over Weston Cypress Bay. He is one of nine starters returning this season for Apopka on defense.
Smith, who had averaged eight tackles per game last season, will be replaced in the lineup tonight by 5-foot-9, 160-pound senior Nick Celella.
Also injured in the Byrne game was Apopka quarterback Zack Darlington, who has a concussion and he will miss an undetermined number of games. His replacements at quarterback tonight will be both fullback Chandler Cox and slot receiver Ray Ray Smith.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.