Dragons look to finish strong
Mark Pinson | Highlands TodayLooking for a two-game winning streak and a positive end to the season, Lake Placid travels to Lemon Bay for its final game at 7 tonight at Veterans Stadium.
Published: November 9, 2012
Published: November 9, 2012
The Class 4A Green Dragons, who are 3-6 overall and coming off a bye, are still riding high after defeating LaBelle 16-14 in their last home game of the season two weeks ago.
"We've had a great bye week and two good weeks of practice," said Lake Placid fifth-year coach Jason Holden. "The week off came at a great time for us and coming off a win makes it so much better for the players and the coaches.
"Our spirits are up and it would a real accomplishment to win two of our last three games of the season."
Lemon Bay is in Class 7A, and the playoff-bound Manta Rays are 6-3 and coming off a 33-14 win over Gulf Coast last Friday.
"Lemon Bay is a real good team," said Holden. "They have excellent athletes and are probably one of the best executing teams I've ever seen in high school."
The Manta Rays utilize a number of formations on offense with the fly sweep being their main play when running the ball.
"Lemon Bay runs a lot of unbalanced plays with a lot of motion," Holden said. "They run out of a shotgun formation with two solid tailbacks and use their tight ends and receivers as blockers.
"They can run the sweep or the option and their quarterback has the ability to throw the ball which makes them tough to defend."
Lake Placid, which will be undersized as usual against the bigger Manta Rays, will have to read their keys and penetrate the line of scrimmage to disrupt the potent Lemon Bay offense.
"Lemon Bay has excellent team speed and they run their offense at a fast pace," Holden said. "Our safeties and corners have to read their keys, watch the release of the receivers and play pass first and then come up to support the run."
The Manta Rays use a 5-3 formation on defense and both defensive ends bring pressure from the outside.
"Lemon Bay is fast up front and they like to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback," Holden said. "They have a real good safety that comes down in the box to support the run.
"They lost to LaBelle 14-13, a team we beat, and that should give us some confidence going into the game."
Lake Placid has had a balanced offense in the later part of the season with junior quarterback Robert Walton doing a much better job of throwing the ball to the open receiver. His main target has been senior wideout Ricky Miller, who has made a habit of getting into the end zone with regularity.
"We've run the ball well and our pass protection has been better and that's allowed Robert to scan the field and go through his progression," Holden said. "He's much more comfortable in the pocket and has done a good job of getting the ball to the right player.
"Ricky is a great young man and has had an outstanding season for us. He gives us a big-play threat every time he touches the ball as a receiver or a kick off and punt returner."
Playing on the road against a talented opponent is nothing new for Lake Placid and the Green Dragons hope to pull off the upset and go into the offseason with a lot of momentum.
"There are a lot of great things going on with this team right now," Holden said. "Beating a 7A squad that's going to the playoffs would be a real boost for our program.
"We're looking forward to the challenge and we're going to play hard, with a lot of effort and see what happens."
email@example.com (863) 386-5837 7 tonight Veterans Stadium $5