AVON PARK — Friday didn’t go quite as well as Avon Park or Lake Placid would have liked, as the Red Devils were on the short end of a 31-0 contest against Frostproof, while the Green Dragons saw the Celebration Storm score a late touchdown to steal an 18-12 victory at Roger Scarbrough Memorial Field.
Both games were hit by lengthy weather delays, with Lake Placid starting late and Avon Park having a two-hour delay at the end of the first quarter.
The Avon Park defense played better than the score would indicate, as the Bulldogs first touchdown came when a bad snap sailed over quarterback Adarius Council’s head and was recovered by the Bulldogs in the end zone for a touchdown.
Avon Park’s next possession didn’t pan out any better, as the Red Devils fumbled the ball away on a punt attempt and Frostproof took over the Avon Park 11 and scored four plays later for a 14-0 lead.
“We came out and gave them two gifts,” said Avon Park coach Wade Jackson. “We have to find a way to overcome stuff like that. When you give up 14 points off the bat you dig yourself a hole and that’s what we have to avoid.
The weather then took center stage and both teams left the field. When playe resumed, the Red Devils fumbled and the Bulldogs scored with 11:22 to go in the second quarter. Lamar Bobb connected for his third straight extra-point and the Bulldogs led 21-0.
Frostproof’s fourth touchdown came on a 17-yard run by Kaleel Gaines with 1:21 remaining in the second quarter. Due to the weather delay, the second quarter was treated as the third quarter and there was no halftime, as the officials announced there would be just one more quarter.
Bobb concluded the scoring with a 22-yard field goal with 7:11 remaining in the game.
Jackson said his team has to be able to step up in class and play the way they can against programs like Frostproof and Hardee.
“I’m not sure they were totally focussed on the game because we have a little bit of fear when we play these opponents,” he said. “We haven’t learned to come out and give it all we’ve got and whatever happens, happens.”
Despite the final score, Jackson said there were some positives and some players who really impressed.
“We have some young men who I thought really stepped up,” he said. “People are going to see the score of 31-0 and be like ‘what are you talking about?’ but we had some kids play hard.”
The Red Devils commited five turnovers in the game and didn’t help quarterback Adarius Council much with several potential big gains taken away with dropped passes.
“Darious is a warrior and he’s one of those kids I’m talking about who comes out and gives it everything he’s got every time he’s here,” Jackson said. “If we get that kind of fighting spirit in everybody we’re going to be OK. He’s leader and I guarantee he’s going to get in some ears next week as a 10th grader. I love him and the way he plays the game and we have a couple of other kids who play the same way.”
Jackson said the team will get back to work and get ready for the next game on the schedule, which will be a trip to Milberry on Friday.
“We ‘re going to keep fighting and we’re going to keep coaching hard and hope the kids respond,” he said. “We have nine games left but we have to improve when we play the upper-echelon opponents. We’ve proved we can play with the people our size, but we have to step up and take it to somebody.”
Celebration’s Grant Crider scored the winning touchdown in the final minute against the Green Dragons to win their first game on the field since 2010.
The Green Dragons host Moore Haven on Friday.