AVON PARK - The Avon Park football team faces another tough opponent tonight as they travel to Fort Meade to play the Miners.
Avon Park lost a close game to the Mulberry Panthers last week by a score of 10-7 in the closing seconds on a long field goal by the Panthers to drop to 0-2 for the season.
Fort Meade pulled out a stunning win over the Hardee Wildcats, 18-7, to improve their record to 2-0 for the season.
According to Avon Park Coach Wade Jackson, the Miners do a little bit of everything on offense utilizing the spread and the I-formation.
"What we're working on this week is staying with our assignments and tackling," said Jackson. "If we can do that, we will give them a game and see what happens."
Fort Meade ran the ball 21 times and threw it 15 in the win over the Wildcats. Tyler King led the Class 3A Miners on the ground with 39 yards on six carries while quarterback Jay Smith completed 10 of 15 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown.
Smith's main target is Malik Brown, who caught three passes for 78 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown pass on Fort Meade's first play from scrimmage.
Though the Wildcats were able to move the ball against the Fort Meade defense, drives stalled as the Miners defense kept the Wildcats scoreless until the fourth quarter.
Class 5A Hardee rushed the ball for 128 yards on 38 carries with Timmy Steedley gaining 104 of those yards in 19 carries.
Jackson noted that Fort Meade runs more of a five-man front on defense, what he called a 5-2 monster.
"Mulberry sort of did the same thing," the red Devil coach said. "They ran a three-man front but brought their linebackers up. So it's nothing that we haven't seen. We've been working on assignments, blocking the right man and getting off the football."
In watching the film, Jackson said that not to take anything away from the Fort Meade team, but Hardee made several mistakes such as an interception by the Miners that was returned for a touchdown.
According for the MaxPreps state rankings, Fort Meade is a huge favorite as they moved up to 125 in the state.
Despite losing its first two games of the season, Avon Park cracked the top 500 at 498.
Regardless of state rankings, Jackson declared that practice this week has been great.
"A lot of positive things come from the kids and the seniors have stepped up and are leading,"
said Jackson. "I see a lot of change, we just have to get over that hump and get a victory."
Avon Park at Fort Meade
Where: Miners Stadium
When: Tonight at 7