AVON PARK – The Avon Park Red Devils have been the underdogs all season and have been underestimated.

The Red Devils were counted out and overlooked early on in the season. Avon Park has proved the naysayers wrong by making it into the Class 4A-Region 3 playoffs.

Avon Park will head to Titusville tonight to play Astronaut High School in the fist round of the state playoffs.

The War Eagles finished the regular season with an impressive record of 9-1. Astronaut is coming off of a big win against Titusville where they dominated 42-12.

“They have a well-disciplined team that is coached really well,” said Avon Park Coach Jerry Hudnell. “They have some speed in some key spots and they are going to try to run the ball down our throat. They have a kid that is a sophomore running back, Jaiden Dollard, that is very fast. Their quarterback Connor Ferguson is a little bit above normal. He is a smaller fast kid.”

The War Eagles are in and out of a 4-3 and 3-4 defense.

“We are going to try to establish the run and throw some passes in there,” Hudnell said. “We will try to trip them up a little bit. Try to neutralize their speed. We have been practicing as normal and practicing like it was week 5 and it went pretty well. We are back to almost normal health wise and we do have our quarterback Tyrek Dunlap back this week and some other bumps and bruises are starting to heal up.”

Avon Park is coming off of a tough 24-19 loss to longtime rivals the Lake Placid Green Dragons.

It was Coach Hudnell’s first time back to Roger Scarborough Memorial Field since he moved to Avon Park. Avon Park ended the season with an even 5-5 record.

“This week a young sophomore named Zach Love really stood out to me,” said Hudnell. “He has been working his butt off and it is starting to show. Our kids are pretty resilient and we know to leave the past in the past. This team has worked their butts off. No one expected us to do any good this year and I think at 5 and 5 we have both overachieved and underachieved at the same time. We could and should have been a lot better. It is going to be business as normal Friday night and we are going to go out and win this game.”

The Avon Park Red Devils and the Astronaut War Eagles are set to kickoff tonight at 7 p.m. in Titusville.

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