Local Sports

Streaks ready for Wildcats

The Sebring football team looks to keep its perfect record intact against Hardee in tonight's home game at Firemen's Field. The Class 6A Blue Streaks are 2-0 heading into tonight's clash with the Class 5A Wildcats who come in at 1-1. Hardee beat Tampa Jesuit in its season opener and lost to Fort Meade by a score of 18-6 last Friday. Sebring, which blanked Okeechobee 17-0 last Friday behind a strong rushing attack and a suffocating defense, will need the same kind of effort to beat a talented Hardee team. "Hardee is going to be hungry for a win," said Sebring coach LaVaar Scott. "They lost to a very tough Fort Meade team, and we beat them last year at their place. We're not as big a rival as Fort Meade but we know Hardee is going to be fired up and ready to play and we have to match their intensity."
The Wildcats will run the ball behind a solid offensive line and a stable of versatile running backs out of the spread and I-formation. "Hardee uses the pistol and the I-formation and they can run out of both sets," Scott said. "They have the ability to throw the ball as well and we're going to have to make sure we read our keys on defense and not give up big plays. "They like to play smashmouth football and this is always one of the most physical games of the season." Sebring prides itself on being the most physical team on the field and the Blue Streaks tend to wear their opponents down with their style of play. "We want to control the line of scrimmage," Scott said. "Hardee is a good football team and we have to get off blocks and our linebackers and defensive backs have to be in the right gaps to limit big plays. "Hardee has bigger backs than we've seen and we're going to have to swarm to the ball and tackle well because they are going to try and run between the tackles right at us." Sebring has an impressive rushing attack of its own with a bevy of backs capable of making big plays. Senior A.J. Gayle twisted his ankle in last Friday's win over Okeechobee and will be a game-time decision. In his absence Giovanni Jenkins, Ladante Harris and Willie Allen have stepped up for the Blue Streaks. Sebring has rushed for more than 350 yards in its first two games and the Blue Streaks want to continue that against the Wildcats. "Hardee has a very good defense and they'll put six men up close to the line of scrimmage," Scott said. "We're prepared for that and we're going to continue to do what we do best and that's run the ball. "We won't know if A.J. can play until game time, but we're blessed to have so many talented running backs who all run very hard and we're going to continue to do what we do best and that's run the ball and play physical on offense and defense." Tonight's game kicks off at 7 p.m. and Scott is hopeful that a large contingent of Blue Streak fans come out to support the team because he knows that the Hardee football faithful will turn out in droves for this game. "We hope we have a big crowd because without a doubt the Hardee fans will be here to support their team," Scott said. "We're off to a good start this season, Hardee has a good team and we don't want to be outdone by the Wildcats on the field or in the stands. "It's a rivalry game and we're looking forward to playing well." mpinson@highlandstoday.com 863-386-5837 Hardee at Sebring Where: Firemen's Field When: Tonight at 7 Cost: $5