AVON PARK - The Avon Park Red Devils will face a formidable opponent in the Frostproof Bulldogs to start their regular season tonight.
Frostproof has beaten Avon Park six of the last seven years and the Bulldogs haven't scored less than nine points in any of those games.
With the exception of two years ago, when Avon Park beat Frostproof 7-6, the Bulldogs have dominated the Red Devils, scoring at least 27 points in the their six wins.
First-year Avon Park Coach Wade Jackson stated that they will have to do what they did last week in the Kickoff Classic against Tenoroc.
Though the game was stopped before the first half due to inclement weather, the Red Devils used a ball control offense to build a 13-0 lead.
"We have to control the football on offense and not have our defense on the field the whole time," said Jackson. "It's no secret that Frostproof has some good athletes and if they get behind you on defense, they are going to score."
The Red Devil coaching staff emphasized that they cannot give up the big play.
"We have to keep them in front of us," Jackson said. "We have to tackle, we have to make them execute and get down the field the whole time."
"If we can hold the ball for five or six minutes drives and tackle on defense, I think we will be fine."
Jackson stressed that they were not worried about what happened in years past.
"We have our best eleven on offense," the Red Devil coach said. "Our best eleven on defense and some play both ways, that's just what we have to do. We are in pretty good shape, but we are not quite to game shape yet because we barely played 20 minutes worth of football."
He knows that his team will go to Frostproof and play hard.
"We are going to attack and force the issue," he said. "We will see what we can do. We have to be the aggressor, we can't lay back and take it."
He also noted that they may try a few things here and there if the opportunity presents itself.
"I like to gamble a little bit so we will see what happens," Jackson said.
When asked about the two players from Avon Park that transferred to Frostproof this year, Jackson underscored their move to Frostproof.
"We know what we can do," he said. "We know what they are capable of, they are two good ball players and to be honest we are not going to worry about them. I told our team if they go up there worrying about the two that left, then they are going into this game the wrong way. We are going up there to win as a team and we are not worried about who they have on the field."
As for the Red Devils game plan on offense, Jackson stated that it was not a secret on what they are going to do on offense.
He feels that he has an offensive line and backfield that can control and move the ball down the field in time consuming drives. Most of all they will not put their quarterback out on an island as the main focal point of the offense.
He believes that they have the backfield that will reduce the need to use the quarterback in a running mode. From that, he has confidence that the passing game will flourish.
Tonight's contest begins at 7 p.m. at Faris Brannen Stadium.
Avon Park at Frostproof
Where: Faris Brannen Stadium
When: Tonight at 7 p.m.