FORT MEADE - The Fort Meade Miners scored on six of seven possessions and added another touchdown on a punt return to beat the Avon Park Red Devils 48-0 on Friday night at Frank S. Battle Field.
The Class 3A Miners improved to 3-0, while the Red Devils to 0-3 for the season.
First-year Avon Park Coach Wade Jackson told his team that he saw some things from some people that he liked because the played hard and didn't quit. He also said he saw some things from some people that he did not like to see.
"There are going to be some changes on Monday," said Jackson. "You have to show that you are going to come out and do what you are coached to do, to have heart and desire and some of our players aren't showing that."
Fort Meade got the ball first to start the game on its 35. Seven plays and two minutes later, they scored on a 13-yard pass from Jay Smith to Ryan Fulse. Fulse also had a 38-yard run earlier in the drive. After the extra point, the Miner led 7-0.
Avon Park went three and out on its first possession, but a 43-yard punt by Recarus Burley pinned the Miners back to their 21-yard line.
Fort Meade scored in four plays, aided by two personal foul calls on Avon Park that moved the ball up 30 yards.
Smith tossed his second touchdown of the game, a 23-yard strike to Tobias Culpepper to put the Miners up 14-0.
After Avon Park was forced to punt on its next possession, the Miners started their third drive on their own 19.
Two passes from Smith to Culpepper for a total of 36 yards and a 41-yard run by Fulse had the Miners with a first-and-goal at the Red Devil 4-yard line.
Tyler King got the ball to the one yard line, but the Red Devil defense battled as they stopped the next two runs to force a fourth-and-goal.
The Red Devils broke up the pass play to complete the goal-line stand to prevent Fort Meade from scoring.
Avon Park failed to get the ball past their own 5-yard line and was forced to punt. Culpepper caught the punt and returned it 30 yards for the Miners touchdown early in the second quarter. With the extra point, Fort Meade led Avon Park 21-0.
Avon Park fumbled the ball away on their next offensive play and Fort Meade capitalized as Smith threw his third touchdown of the game, a 20 yard scoring pass to Malik Brown to put the Miners up 29-0 with a two-point conversion.
Avon Park went into the half trailing 35-0 after Fort Meade scored again on an eight-play, 68-yard drive that was capped off on a 2-yard run by King.
Trailing 42-0, Avon Park put together an 11-play drive starting from its 20.
The Class 4A Red Devils moved the ball to the Miner 8-yard line, but the drive stalled and the Red Devils turned the ball over on downs.
Fort Meade continued to roll, scoring on both possessions in the second half. The second being an 86-yard run by Tyler King for the 48-0 final.
Jackson told his team after the game that they needed to decide what kind of team they wanted to be and what they wanted to do for the rest of the season.
Despite the setback, Jackson is staying the course.
"We are not going to reinvent the wheel," Jackson said. "We are going to do what we do best. We are going to run our offense and stay the course like we talked about and get kids in there that are going to fight on every play until the whistle blows."
"I think we got the offense in to do what we can do at this time. We don't need to make a lot of wholesale changes, we just got to find eleven men that will battle."
This includes any talk at this time about bringing up any junior varsity players, who have won their last two games. At this time Jackson stated that he wanted to keep the junior varsity together for as long as possible.
It will not get any easier for Avon Park on Friday, as the Red Devils travel to Sarasota to play Cardinal Mooney. Cardinal Mooney is 2-0. including a 44-7 win over Lake Placid on Friday.