The football season may not start for another three-and-a-half months, but the Sebring Blue Streaks are hard at work in one of the busiest times of the year. Not only do they have daily practice and a spring game coming up against Avon Park in less than two weeks, but also they have several fundraisers lined up for the next 12 days.
“We have 96 kids in the program now and that’s the highest we’ve ever had it, if you include the eighth-graders, and right now we’re a helmet short,” said Sebring coach LaVaar Scott. “So we have some money we need to raise.”
The team’s first fundraiser, the Sebring Firemen spring barbecue, will take place Friday between 4 and 6 p.m. right before the traditional Blue vs. White scrimmage at Firemen’s Field.
Scott was hopeful people would take advantage of great food at a great cost and then head inside to see what the Blue Streaks have been doing since last season, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
“It’s no secret we didn’t score a lot of points last year and we’re hoping we’ll find a new wrinkle to help us do what we already do and move the ball and be more efficient on offense,” he said. “We have some exciting guys who can do some things with the ball in their hands and I’m hoping the people will come out and support that.”
The Blue Streaks enter the season with quarterbacks who saw time underneath center last year, as both Jair Watson and Connor Cook are back, along with some strong running backs and a decent group of receivers.
The Blue Streaks lose several starting linemen but have some who saw playing time last season.
Scott said the team is working hard, which is the main thing he wants to see as a coach.
“The kids are giving effort and it’s a learning process,” he said. “We have a younger group now and there’s a learning curve, but they’re getting it. We’re progressing.”
Scott said even those who have been on the team for a few years will have some things to learn — especially regarding the offensive changes — but that they should be familiar enough with the way the program operates to be able to help the younger players.
Scott and his fellow coaches are looking forward to seeing what the players do in game situations, as are the players themselves.
“The kids are ready,” he said. “We just started getting on each other and hitting physically, but you can tell they’re ready for something different.”
On May 24, the Blue Streaks will host Avon Park in their spring game, but they won’t have much time to recover if they are a bit sore afterward, as the team’s traditional watermelon sale and car wash takes place the following day.
Scott believes the watermelon sale/car wash, which will be held between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at Eye Express, BP Southgate Shopping Center and Boys and Girls Club, is a good way to build a relationship between the team and the community it represents.
“It gives the kids a chance to get out in the community and it gives the community a chance to see these kids are going to get out there and work for what they get,” he said. “We’re not always going to go out and just ask for donations, but we’ll work and earn that helmet and earn those things we need.”