OKEECHOBEE - After waiting out a two-hour lightning delay, Sebring used a methodical rushing attack and a smothering defense to beat Okeechobee by a score of 17-0 on Friday night at a soggy Brahman Stadium.
The win improved the Class 6A Blue Streaks to 2-0, while the loss dropped the Class 6A Brahmans to 0-2.
"This is the second week in a row where we started off slow," Sebring coach LaVaar Scott said. "We ran the ball well and we have the luxury of having several quality running backs that we can count on.
"Our defense played well and didn't give up any points which is great, but we are still making mental and physical mistakes that will get us beat if we don't correct them."
The field was wet and both teams struggled to get any kind of offense going in a scoreless first half.
Sebring's defense forced a turnover on Okeechobee's first possession of the second half when junior defensive back Breon Jones intercepted a pass by Okeechobee quarterback Cory Surls at the Brahman 32-yard line.
The Blue Streaks scored in three plays as sophomore tailback Giovanni Jenkins ripped off a 30-yard run and capped the drive with a 1-yard plunge into the end zone. Hunter Livingston booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead with 8:53 remaining in the third quarter.
Jenkins, who stepped up after A.J. Gayle went down with an ankle injury in the first quarter, finished with 101 yards rushing on 17 carries.
"We felt good coming out of halftime because we're a second-half team," Scott said. "We wear teams down because we play physical and we have depth this year which is a big help."
The Sebring defense continued to stifle the Brahmans running game and the Blue Streaks put a lot of pressure on Surls, who completed eight of 11 passes for 45 yards with one interception.
After a sack of Surls on the Okeechobee 4-yard line, a short punt gave the Blue Streaks excellent position on the Brahmans 26.
Sebring found the end zone in three plays as Ladante Harris raced in from 25 yards out. The point after by Livingston made it 14-0 with 11:01 left in the game.
"Not many teams can go to their second and third string running backs and get those kind of results," Scott said. "A.J. went out with an ankle injury and Ladante and Giovanni stepped up big time for us."
Sebring recorded its fifth sack of the night to end another Okeechobee possession and the Blue Streaks sealed the non-district victory with a nine-play, 52-yard drive capped off by Livingston's 20-yard field goal with 3:37 remaining to play.
The Brahmans offense went nowhere and Sebring took possession and ran out the clock for the win.
"Our defense has been playing steady and we just have to keep it up," Scott said. "We didn't give up any big plays, but we made some mistakes and had some silly penalties that we can't afford."
Sebring is at home on Friday night against a talented Hardee team that will be hungry for a victory after losing to the Blue Streaks last year.
"That's a big rivalry and Hardee has a good football team," Scott said. "We beat them on their field last year so they will want to beat us real bad.
"Hardee is going to be hungry for a win, but if we can fix a few of these mistakes we're making we'll be fine."