Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014
Local Sports

A physical force


Published:

Even when you didn't see the collision on the gridiron, the sound told you it was Sebring's Jacquae Peart who made the hit.

The 6-foot, 225-pound Blue Streak linebacker used his strength to shed blockers and his quickness to track down opposing running backs in stunning fashion.

Peart had a team-high 92 tackles, 13 for loss, he had two sacks and the senior defensive captain forced a pair of fumbles to help key a very stingy Sebring defense.

"Jacquae has a nose for the ball and is very physical," said Sebring football coach LaVaar Scott. "He reads his keys, moves quickly and is a tackling machine."

Peart, who was selected to play in the South-Central All-Star Football game and the prestigious FACA North-South All-Star Football game, has a number of college teams interested in his talents.

"He has been one of our hardest workers the last two years and it's paying off for him," Scott said. "He is reaping the benefits of his hard work and he's going to get an opportunity to play football and earn a college education."

For his ability and accomplishments, Peart has been selected as the Highlands Today 2013 All-Highlands Defensive Football Player of the Year.

"It's an honor to win this award," Peart said. "It means all of the hard work I put in paid off. I love football because it allows me to express my feelings and I play with a lot of emotion."

The Team

DL Chase Griffin, senior, Lake Placid - Griffin, who played with abandon, came off the edge with a vengeance as a defensive end and had 73 tackles for the Green Dragons.

"Chase played bigger than his size," said Lake Placid coach Jason Holden. "He was quick off the ball and is the most aggressive player I've ever coached.

"He played wide open and you could always count on him to play hard."

LB Christian Suarez, senior, Avon Park - Suarez used his speed to run down ball carriers and had a team-high 53 tackles for the Red Devils.

"Christian did a lot of things for us and he utilized his speed to make plays," said Avon Park coach Wade Jackson. "He's a tough kid and was a team player."

DL Devon Durham, senior, Sebring - Durham, a team captain, was a strong inside presence on the line for the Blue Streaks with 45 tackles, 11 for loss and 3 1/2 sacks.

"Devon was a tough, hard-nosed defensive tackle that every team knew they had to get blocked," said Scott. "He stepped up and had a solid year for us."

LB Malachi McLean, senior, Lake Placid - McLean played a key role on the Green Dragons defense from his middle linebacker position and had a team-high 82 tackles.

"Malachi solidified the middle of our defense," said Holden. "He's very strong, extremely smart, could shed blockers and was an excellent tackler."

DB Josh Jones, junior, Avon Park - Jones, who showed great improvement over the course of the season, had 29 tackles, four pass breakups and two interceptions.

"Josh worked hard and improved tremendously during the season," Jackson said. "I look for big things from him next year."

DL Raphael Hidalgo, senior, Sebring - Hidalgo was a disruptive force on the line with 59 tackles, six for loss and two sacks for the Blue Streaks.

"Raphael used his quickness to get in the backfield and disrupted a lot of plays," Scott said. "He was solid and made a lot of key stops for us."

LB Dante Carpenter, freshman, Sebring - It's unusual for a freshman to have an impact, but Carpenter played a key role with 57 tackles, including three for loss, from his linebacker position.

"Dante is rock solid and has a lot of potential," said Scott. "If he continues to work hard and listen to his coaches he has a chance to be a really good one."

DL Romeo Dunn, senior, Avon Park - Dunn was a force on a young defensive line with 22 tackles, three for loss and two sacks.

"Romeo was a four-year starter and was real strong," Jackson said. "He was consistent and we relied on him to make plays."

CB Breon Jones, junior, Sebring - Jones had 41 tackles, one interception and seven pass breakups from his cornerback position for the Blue Streaks.

"Breon is a solid cover corner and brought a physical presence," Scott said. "He could cover and is a good tackler."

DB Lauer Lewis, sophomore, Avon Park - Lewis had 27 tackles and two interceptions for the Red Devils.

"Lauer is a good defensive back," said Jackson. "He is a good tackler, has solid coverage skills and is only going to get better."

DB Dre Neely, sophomore, Avon Park - Neely made up for his size with a tremendous competitive desire and worked hard to improve his coverage skills.

"Dre has a big heart and is a hard worker," Jackson said.

Honorable Mention

DL Luke Ancrum, junior, Sebring - Ancrum made an impact coming off the edge from his defensive end position and had 37 tackles, including 12 for loss and a pair of sacks.

"Luke is tall and rangy and is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the near future," said Scott. "He just has to get in the weight room and get a lot stronger."

S Jarvis Bridges, junior, Sebring - Bridges roamed the field from his free safety position and had 47 tackles, five for loss, two sacks and scored two touchdowns on blocked punt returns.

"Jarvis is a smart player,"Scott said. "He made lots of big plays for us."

LB Dalton McIntyre, senior, Sebring - McIntyre had an impact at linebacker with 37 tackles for the Blue Streaks.

"Dalton always gave a solid effort," Scott said.

DL Oderick Gall, sophomore, Sebring - Gall was solid at defensive end with 34 tackles, nine for loss and two sacks.

"Oderick really came on as the season progressed,"said Scott. "He has a lot of potential."

Coach of the Year

For building a tough, physical defense and going 6-4 against a competitive schedule, Sebring veteran coach LaVaar Scott has been selected as the Highlands Today Football Coach of the Year.

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