The good news for the Sebring football team is it qualified for the state playoffs.
The bad news is the No. 8 seed Blue Streaks must play No. 1 seed Vanguard in tonight’s Class 6A regional quarterfinal game.
Sebring posted an impressive 8-2 record on the season and has a potent offense led by shifty senior quarterback DJ Williams, a bevy of speedy running backs and dangerous wide receiver Norris Taylor.
The Blue Streaks are coming off a 42-3 rout of Merritt Island last week which helped them qualify for the state playoffs for the second consecutive year.
“It’s been a good season and one of our goals was to make it to the state playoffs,” said Sebring head coach LaVaar Scott. “We know we have a big challenge in front of us in Vanguard.”
Vanguard (Ocala) is undefeated at 10-0 and the Knights are fresh off a 46-34 win over Oakleaf last week.
The Knights have the ability to run or throw and have a pair of wide receivers that tower over most defensive backs at 6-foot, 6 inches and 6-foot, 3 inches.
“Vanguard is a good team and very balanced,” said Scott. “They have good size, excellent team speed and it’s going to be a tough challenge for us. Their quarterback is dangerous throwing or running and we have to keep him in the pocket and try and get some pressure on him. When he starts to scramble he makes big plays for them.”
Sebring has had a bad habit of starting slowly in road games this season and rallied to win in the second half. That’s something the Blue Streaks can’t afford to do against a quick-strike spread offense like Vanguard’s.
“We have to be ready to play when we get off the bus,” Scott said. “At away games we started slow this season, but we can’t afford to fall behind against a team as good as Vanguard because they can score a lot of points in a hurry.”
Sebring has had a good week of practice and the Blue Streaks are focused on playing smart and executing in every facet of the game in hopes of pulling off the upset for the Knights.
“Practice has been good this week and we know we’re going to have to play well and not turn the ball over to come away with a win,” Scott said. “We’re fairly healthy and we’re going to play hard and do our best.”
Kickoff is set for 7:30 tonight at Booster Stadium in Ocala. There will be score updates during the game on the Highlands News-Sun Facebook page.