The real season begins tonight for the Sebring football team. The Blue Streaks begin Class 6A-District 11 play against a talented and physical Lake Region squad.
Sebring is 3-1 on the season and coming off its bye week, while the Thunder are 3-2 after beating Mulberry, 26-19, last Friday.
"It's been a while since we hit somebody else and hopefully we're rested up and ready to play," said Sebring Coach LaVaar Scott. "It's our first district game of the season and a chance for us to win and be at the top of the standings and not at the bottom."
Sebring plays in a four-team district and with only three district games on the schedule, each one is important, especially tonight's home game.
"We're fortunate to have our first district game at home and we want to take advantage of playing in front of our fans," Scott said. "The kids understand the difference in district games and the importance of winning them and we're looking forward to playing well."
The Blue Streaks, who have been battling turnovers and penalties early in the season, rallied in the second half to beat LaBelle by a score of 26-8 on the road two weeks ago.
Mistakes against a physical Lake Region team that prefers to run the ball could prove costly.
"Lake Region is a very good team on both sides of the ball," Scott said. "They are going to run the ball until you stop them, but they do throw it a few times a game just to keep you honest."
The Thunder use a Double-Wing on offense and are content to move the chains with a steady ground attack.
"Lake Region runs primarily between the tackles,"Scott said. "They run a lot traps and counter runs and we have to do a good job of reading our keys and stay in our gaps.
"Their offense looks like the Triple-Option that Georgia Tech uses, but it's a little different."
Sebring would like to take an early lead and force Lake Region to abandon the run.
"The most they have thrown the ball in a game is eight times," the Blue Streak coach said. "And they were behind in that game by 20 points. "We have to stop the run, passing isn't something they like to do, but they can especially on play-action passes."
Lake Region uses a 4-3 on defense and the Thunder like to walk their linebackers up close to the line of scrimmage to take away the run.
Sebring has been successful because of a potent rushing attack and has seen most teams try and stack the box to force the Blue Streaks to the air.
"We're used to teams putting a lot of people at the line of scrimmage," Scott said. "We just have to execute our blocks, run hard and not turn the ball over."
The recent dry weather has given Sebring a chance to work on things during practice in preparation for tonight's key clash.
"We had a good week of practice and cleaned up a lot of things," Scott said. "We have a couple of kids that got tweaked, but for the most part we're ready to go."
Kick off is set for 7 tonight at Firemen's Field.
"We're hoping a big crowd comes out and supports us," Scott said. "We're going to play hard to try and earn that first district win.
"A win against Lake region would give us a real shot of confidence heading into the rest of the season."
Lake Region at Sebring
Where: Firemen's Field
When: Tonight at 7