Friday, Sep 19, 2014

Red Devils look for win


Published:

The Avon Park football team has faced numerous challenges and a murderous schedule in Red Devil coach Wade Jackson's first year.

Avon Park is 0-6 and seeks its first win of the season in tonight's home game against Hardee which comes in at 4-1.

"We've had a tough schedule to say the least," said Jackson. "It's one of those things where I got the job late and the schedule was mostly planned.

"That's just the way it is, we're going to keep working hard to improve and we're looking forward to playing well."

Avon Park lost its Class 4A-District 6 opener last Friday to a talented Clewiston squad by a score of 49-7, while Class 5A Hardee knocked off Sarasota Booker 14-3.

"Hardee is one of the best teams we will play all season," said Jackson. "They are very solid, big up front and have a lot of speed.

"They have the kind of football program that we want to model ours after and be like."

The Wildcats have plenty of athletes especially at the skill positions.

Senior quarterback Kris Johnson, junior running back Keynote Holley and senior running back Timmy Steedley have made a number of big plays during the season.

Hardee gave a good Sebring team its only loss of the season with a 21-0 blanking at Firemen's Field.

The Wildcats like to run the ball but have the ability to utilize the play-action pass for big plays in the passing game.

"Hardee has a lot of weapons, but we're going to go out and give it our best shot," Jackson said. "Hardee runs the ball well and has for years and if it's not broke don't fix it.

"We've got to read our keys, use some blitzes to try and disrupt their timing."

Avon Park, which has been outscored 232-40, likes to keep the ball on the ground to keep the clock running and shorten the game.

"We want to move the chains and keep Hardee's offense off the field," Jackson said. "Our guys are looking forward to the challenge and hopefully we can make some plays and not turn the ball over."

Avon Park, which has been hurt by giving up the big play, has a bye next week before playing back-to-back important district games against LaBelle and Lake Placid.

"We want to beat Hardee, but we also want to try and stay healthy for LaBelle and Lake Placid because they are district games," Jackson said. "We still have a shot at making the playoffs if we win those games.

"It's kind of crazy, but as tough as our schedule has been it might help us in the end."

Kickoff is set for 7:30 for tonight's nondistrict clash at Joe Franza Stadium.

mpinson@highlandstoday.com

863-386-5837

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