Local Sports

Dragons set sail for Vikings

The Lake Placid football team will be on the road tonight in Fort Meyers for a nondistrict game against Class 3A Bishop Verot. Kickoff is schedule for 7 p.m. The Green Dragons (2-4) have a somewhat testy history with the Vikings (4-2), having faced them four times since 2005. "They've been a familiar opponent," said Lake Placid coach Jason Holden. "Maybe not as familiar as Celebration, but we've played them off and on. But for this group of guys, it will be their first trip down there." Lake Placid is 1-3 all time against Bishop Verot, with the Dragons only win coming in Viking Stadium back in 2006. This season, Holden is hoping a fresh set of faces can put Lake Placid back on the winning track.
"We've called some guys up from junior varsity, and they've helped keep us fresh," Holden said. "They're pretty versatile, and a couple are really excelling." One of those players who's impressed Holden despite his limited play on the varsity squad is James Blake. "Blake had a big interception for us last week against Clewiston, and his confidence is just so high right now," Holden said. "He's really versatile and always works hard in practice. "He just comes to play." But even with the added roster depth, Holden knows taking down Bishop Verot won't be easy. The Vikings like to run multiple sets on offense, including everything from the Power-I to two tight end formations with a handful of shotgun plays thrown in for good measure. While it's nothing Lake Placid hasn't seen before this season, the Vikings offensive scheme presents a new challenge in that it combines all of them into one night. "We've seen each one of their sets at different times this year," Holden said. "But we're going to have to play sound defensively since they'll show us so many different looks over the course of the game." Meanwhile, on offense, Holden is hoping to quell the fumble problems that have plagued his Dragons for much of the season. "We can't fumble," Holden said. "Nothing else matters if we can't hold on to the football." Added to the sting of fumbleitis that has infected the team, many of them are self-inflicted, coming on the exchange between the center and quarterback during the snap. Holden said that's been a frustrating part of the season. "We haven't had too much trouble holding onto the ball while the guys are making plays in the field of play, but it still happens more than it should," he said. "The center-quarterback exchange has to be 100 percent. It's been really disappointing that we've had trouble getting the snap off." Lake Placid has been working hard in practice on making sure that ball-security is second nature. But against a Vikings defense that's coming home off of back-to-back road games, the Dragons will be put to the test. "We know a lot of it is mental," Holden said. "And if we're able to cut down on the number of fumbles just a little, it means they'll stop thinking about it so much." Following tonight's game against Bishop Verot, Lake Placid will be back at home on Friday to face Class 4A-District 6 rival Avon Park. Both the Red Devils and Dragons will be looking for their first district win of the season. bhoward@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5841 Lake Placid at Bishop Verot Where: Viking Stadium When: Tonight at 7 Cost: $5