Devils look to cage Cougars

The Avon Park football team looks for its first win of the season on the road tonight against a tough opponent in Sarasota Cardinal Mooney. The Red Devils come in at 0-3 after dropping a 48-0 decision to a talented Fort Meade squad last Friday. If history is on Avon Park's side, fans could expect to see the Red Devils come away with a victory. The last meeting between the two teams was in 2010, when Avon Park held on for a 19-13 win over the Class 3A Cougars, which coincidentally, was also on the road.
First-year Red Devil coach Wade Jackson was a part of that victory as an assistant, and he knows what hurdles Avon Park will need to overcome if they want to knock off Cardinal Mooney. "They're a disciplined team," he said. "They don't make a lot of mistakes, so they're not going to shoot themselves in the foot." "But they run a spread offense, and we've seen that against Frostproof and Fort Meade - and Cardinal Mooney doesn't have quite the speed that those schools have." Jackson is hoping to see the team play like they did two weeks ago against Mulberry. The Devils fell 10-7 on a late field goal, but their execution kept them in the game. "We've been able to find our running game, but I'd like to open up the passing game a little more," Jackson said. "Against Mulberry, we just couldn't finish on scoring drives. But the kids have responded real well this week and we've had some great practices." The Cougars, meanwhile, are fresh from a 47-7 thumping of Lake Placid, one of Avon Park's district rivals. The Green Dragons were in the game until late in the first half, when a slew of errors let the score get out of hand. But Jackson said he's not worried about other teams. "We're trying to find ourselves," he said. "We want to get a win and get over that hump. We're thinking about ways to block and tackle better; we're not worried about anyone else." Playing the part of the road warriors for much of the first half of the season, Avon Park will get some reprieve after this week as the Devils will have four home games in a row starting with Lakeland Christian on Sept. 27. (863) 386-5841