SEBRING - The gridiron Blue Streaks are getting tired of hitting each other; they're ready to inflict pain on someone else. And tonight they'll get that chance, when they face off against Mulberry in the kickoff classic at Firemen's Field at 7 p.m.
"A big part of it is getting to play against another team," said Sebring coach LaVaar Scott. "But I'm really interested in seeing where we're at mentally and physically - from an execution standpoint."
This season Sebring brings back a core nucleus of solid defensive and offensive players, and Scott said he's hoping to see the seniors reap the benefits of their hard work.
"I need to see that we're not going to make the mental mistakes," Scott said. "I know we have the players with the athletic ability, so we've been working on the little things, like not putting the ball on the ground, lining up in the correct formations, knowing the plays, things like that."
But don't expect to see fireworks on the scoreboard, Scott said he's looking to play some physical, low-scoring football.
"We averaged about seven to eight points per game last season, so we're looking to get three scores on offense," Scott said.
"But we want to temper that on defense and hold Mulberry to three scores as well," he added.
With over 50 kids on the varsity and junior varsity roster, no starting spot is guaranteed this year, and a lot of kids are expecting to see playing time against the Panthers.
"In past years, we've had just under 40 kids come out, so to have this many has really been great," Scott said. "So that's why I tell them that no spot is safe, you have to perform. We've got the bodies now."
"It's a week-to-week battle," he added. "We're not going to hold anything for anyone. You've got to fight. You've got to bring the effort."
And that's what Scott really wants to see - effort.
"That's what I want to see from my kids," he said. "I'll take effort over anything."
While Scott shied away from naming a player to watch at Friday's game, he did drop some hints of what to look for.
"There are some guys who we're looking to see big things out of this season," Scott said. "And they know who they are. But I'll let their play speak for itself."
Tonight's preseason game will cost $6 to attend, up one dollar from the usual price of $5.
According to Sebring Athletic Director Terry Quarles, the reason for the increase in ticket prices is a result of the Kickoff Classic being a Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) sanctioned event.
Ticket prices for football games will drop back to $5 for the regular season.
Mulberry at Sebring
When: Tonight at 7
Where: Firemen's Field