No place like home for Dragons

After inclement weather canceled last Friday's road game against Moore Haven, the Lake Placid Green Dragons are itching to get back onto the gridiron. But tonight they'll face a daunting task in taking on Sarasota Cardinal Mooney for their first home game of the season. The Class 3A Cougars are fresh off a 47-7 thrashing of LaBelle, and have been a considerable menace to the Dragons over the past two seasons. "They're a well-coached team," Lake Placid coach Jason Holden said. "We'll have to be physical and play a sharp mental game if we want to find a way to beat them." Last Friday's rain out also hindered Lake Placid's goal of implementing a stronger passing attack.
However, Holden said that the Dragons had a strong week of practice, and added that he hopes the team's ground game will open up a few opportunities for quarterback Robert Walton. Against Celebration in the season opener, the Dragons completed four out of eight passes for 106 yards and one touchdown. The coaching staff wants to see those numbers improve as the season continues. "We have to play to our strength," Holden said. "And we've definitely had some success on the ground. You have to have that to open up the passing game." "And as little as we pass, we have to go with what gives us the best chance to win," he added. "So while their could be a few drop backs, there will likely be some play action as well." On the defensive side of the ball, the Green Dragons are hoping to cut down on the mental miscues. The defense played well against Celebration, holding the Storm to just 14 points, but a handful offsides penalties kept Celebration drives alive down the stretch. Holden knows that can't happen against the Cougars. "Cardinal Mooney is extremely disciplined," Holden said. "They won't make mistakes, so we can't afford to make them either." But with the improvements he's seen in his team, both on and off the field, Holden said he's optimistic about the rest of the season. "We have great leadership," he said. "It's a great group of guys here. We have great leadership, the seniors have taken over the team - there's just a lot of great things happening right now." Following the game against Cardinal Mooney, Lake Placid will have back-to-back road games before returning home on Oct. 4 to take on LaBelle for its first district game. The staff is hoping to avoid any more unscheduled detours until then. "We've had a lot of strange weather - if it's not lightning, it's something else," Holden said. "And we don't play our district games until much later in the season." "It's been a weird year." Cardinal Mooney at Lake Placid Where: Roger Scarborough Memorial Field When: Tonight at 7 p.m. Cost: $5