Fresh off of a thrilling come-from-behind victory last week against Poinciana, Lake Placid returns to Roger Scarborough Memorial Field tonight for a critical game against Class 4A-District 6 opponent LaBelle.
"It's our first district game of the season, and it's going to be tough," said Lake Placid coach Jason Holden. "LaBelle is a strong, tough team. We'll have to come mentally prepared if we want to win."
The Cowboys (1-4) are coming off of a heartbreaking 21-20 loss to Fort Meyer's Bishop Verot, a team Lake Placid (2-2) will have to face later this season. LaBelle was also throttled at home, 26-8, by the Dragons' county rival, Sebring, earlier this season.
"LaBelle is big up front," Holden said. "So we'll need to be prepared for a pounding; in giving it out and receiving it."
The Cowboys primarily run their offense out of the I-formation, a scheme the Dragons haven't seen too much of this season.
Lake Placid has primarily faced spread teams up this point. Green Dragon fans would likely have to go back to the preseason game against Okeechobee to find a similar matchup.
"It's definitely different than what we've been used to," Holden said. "It's a new style, but it's not so intense that we'll have to make any major physical adjustments. We will need to make the mental adjustments, though."
Even with a radical new style of football coming to town, tonight's game has upped the level of excitement among the Dragons' players.
"Anticipation is high," Holden said. "We've been talking about this game since the spring. We really think we can do well in districts this year."
"And we've had a really dry week," Holden added. "So we've been able to get some really good practices in as well."
Those solid practice days may be the deciding factor in tonight's game. The Dragons have fallen into some bad habits as of late, putting the ball on the ground, not finishing their blocks, and hesitating when running the ball. Holden knows he'll need his team to be sharp against LaBelle.
"We've gotten a little bit away from our fundamentals," he said. "I'm seeing some guys trying to bounce outside when running the ball, instead of following their blockers and accelerating through the hole."
"We tired to open up the passing game as well, but we still didn't complete as many passes as we want to. But some our guys made some big plays at key times last week to get us good field position."
What has been consistent, though, is the Dragons' defense. Lake Placid will need another strong showing against LaBelle if it hopes to move into the top of the district standings.
"They were outstanding against Poinciana," Holden said. "They kept us in the game the whole time. We had some nice goal-line stands that kept them from scoring until we were able to get into the end zone ourselves."
The Dragons have a bye week following tonight's game against the Cowboys. Kick off is set for 7:30 tonight.
Lake Placid picks up its schedule again on Oct. 18 with another district game, this time on the road, against Clewiston.
The Tigers are currently the best team in the district, possessing a 3-1 record.
LaBelle at Lake Placid
Where: Roger Scarborough Memorial Field
When: Tonight at 7:30