Streaks seek return to playoffs
Allen Moody | Highlands TodayThe Sebring Blue Streaks begin the second year of the LaVaar Scott era with plenty of new faces, as well as some who put in brief appearances last year.
Published: August 31, 2012
Published: August 31, 2012
Sebring will have to replace a number of talented players who have moved on to play college football, but return some talented players and also welcome a pair of big-time players in Lake Placid transfer AJ Gayle and defensive back Arthur Williams, a senior who is getting plenty of looks from Division I schools.
QB One of those returning after a brief stint with the varsity squad last year is Brandon Ferretti, who was impressive after joining the team late in the season. Ferretti is a traditional throwing quarterback with good accuracy and can pick apart a defense when he has time to plant his feet and throw.
With Ferretti taking control of the quarterback spot, Scott will be able to move Davaris Faulk back to running back, where he'll be joined by Gayle, giving Sebring a top-notch tandem in the backfield.
Faulk could also see some time behind center when the Blue Streaks go with their version of the wildcat offense, as he did in the team's Kickoff Classic game against Dade Christian.
RB The Blue Streaks will run some different formations, including a single-back offense, as well as some two-back sets with Faulk and Gayle.
"We'll do a lot of different things," Scott said. "We still have some injuries, so we have to move some people around and have them play positions they're not really familiar with, but we think we can put a good product on the field."
Gayle had some solid games in the Kickoff Classic against Dade Christian and can be a workhorse in the backfield. If Gayle gets untracked, that will open up the passing game, as teams will have to bring the secondary in to try and stop the run.
WR Sebring has a solid group of wide receivers, with Ladonte Harris, Decaris Jones and Williams may also see some time at wideout. The team will likely try several different players in the preseason games.
The team is likely to throw a bit more this season than last year, as Scott will look to take advantage of the weapons he has.
Harris had several key receptions during the Kickoff Classic, including one quick toss that he turned into a 43-yard touchdown when he broke several tackles and out-ran the defense.
OL Scott said the offensive line will be undersized but has some solid athletes, including Ezell Gammage, who returns to anchor the line.
"We're not that big," he said. "We're a little bit more athletic and we can run this year. As far as size, we'll probably be a little bit smaller than anybody we see, district-wise."
The Blue Streaks' defense was the team's strength a year ago and Scott sees no reason that won't continue.
DL The Blue Streaks may be a bit on the small side on the defensive line, but have some players with a nose for the football, including Mark Miranda and Jake Bryan. Many of the players on the line with play both offense and defense.
The Blue Streaks will look for players to step up in the preseason games and plenty will get an opportunity, while players get a breather.
LB The Blue Streaks have some good athletes at linebacker, including Faulk and Jacquae Peart. The linebackers have pretty good quickness and are capable of making the big hit.
"We're pretty good up front, our linebackers are good," Scott said.
DB The secondary will be a strength of the team, with Williams, Harris, Jones and Breon Jones. The Blue Streaks should prove tough to pass against and managed to keep an explosive Dade Christian passing attack in check for the most part in the Kickoff Classic.
"We have some experience in our defensive backfield," Scott said.
K/P The Blue Streaks lost a key performer in Donavon White, but Hunter Livingston has plenty of talent and will handle both of the kicking duties. Livingston drilled both extra-points against Dade Christian and did a decent job punting, despite kicking into the wind more often than not.
Just how good of a team the Blue Streaks become will largely be determined on how quickly some of the younger players can get up to speed.
"We have a lot of young guys we're hoping go through that maturing process; that's what we need," Scott said. "We have some kids who are a little green and we need them to grow up fast." Scott doesn't want to point to the team's youth as an excuse.
"I hate to say we're very young. That's sort of a cliché, but we only have 10 seniors," he said. "That tells you something right there."
Scott said overall team athleticism is going to be a positive; it's just a matter of getting their football playing abilities up to their athletic ability.
"We have more speed than we've had in a while," he said.
The Blue Streaks play the usual suspects—DeSoto, Frostproof and Hardee—in the preseason before they play their first district game against Lake Gibson on Sept. 21. The Blue Streaks won't play their next district game until Oct. 19.
"We're trying to get the young guys to understand the process and what it takes to be good," Scott said. "We still have a way to go."
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