AVON PARK - The Clewiston Tigers ran the ball at will as they shredded the Avon Park Red Devil defense for 381 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in a 49-7 rout on Friday night at Joe Franza Stadium.
"We did not block, we did not tackle," said Avon Park Head Coach Wade Jackson. "We played timid, and this is what happens. "
Clewiston came out firing on all cylinders on its first possession of the game as Derry West ran the ball three consecutive times for 50 yards. The third being a 40-yard touchdown run as the Tigers took a 7-0 lead.
Avon Park was forced to punt and Clewiston's Lenorris Gaines returned the punt back to the Avon Park 9-yard line. From there, West scampered in on a 9-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 14-0 first quarter lead.
With Clewiston establishing early dominance, the Red Devil defense tried to pull Avon Park back into the game as Lauer Lewis intercepted a Davis Witt pass and returned it to the 2-yard line.
Christian Suarez muscled his way into the end zone as Avon Park cut Clewiston's lead in half, 14-7.
"I thought we would get a little momentum," said Jackson of the interception and the touchdown, "I thought it would put a little fire in us. I have been saying that we needed some big plays and we finally got one and we did not do anything with it."
The momentum shifted briefly to Avon Park as the defense stood strong on a fourth and inches attempt by Clewiston on the Tigers' 45.
As the first quarter ended with Clewiston leading 14-7, so did any momentum that Avon Park had.
The Avon Park defense was unable to stop the Tigers in the second quarter as Clewiston scored four touchdowns on their next 13 offensive plays.
"It's very frustrating," said Jackson, "they run lead and dive and we do not make contact or tackle anybody."
Clewiston went 60 yards in three plays as Maurice Murphy scored on a 31-yard run to give the Tigers a 21-7 lead. On their next possession, they went 79 yards in three plays as Witt completed two passes for 49 yards and Murphy capped off the drive with a 40-yard touchdown run as Clewiston went up 28-7.
Their next drive was 42 yards that was capped by a 25-yard jaunt by Jarvirus Bradford to increase the Tiger's lead to 35-7.
Clewiston put the finishing touches on the first half when West dashed in from 39 yards out to make it 42-7.
The Tigers scored on their first possession of the second half on a 5-yard run to make the final score 49-7.
"We practice well, we work hard at practice," said Jackson. "We just cannot find a way to bring it to the game field. That is what we are searching for and we are going to keep searching and we aren't going to give up. I told my guys at half time, I do not have many 42-0 halftime speeches. We just are not going to give up and I am not going to give up on them."
It was not all on the defense as the Avon Park offense had less total yards than two of the Clewiston running backs.
Avon Park was limited to 96 yards rushing on 30 carries and no yards passing. Joe Nance had 48 yards on 11 carries and JC Cobb picked up 31 yards.
The Tigers amassed 449 yards of total offense as West led the team with 148 yards on eight carries and two touchdowns.
The Red Devils face another tough opponent this Friday as they play host to the Hardee Wildcats.