By RUTH ANNE LAWSON
SEBRING – The Sebring Blue Streaks’ Homecoming game against the Clearwater Central Catholic Marauders did not go according to plan. The Blue Streaks fell short 30-17 dropping their record to 3-2 and ending their three-game winning streak.
“It was bad on both sides of the ball,” said Sebring Coach LaVaar Scott. “It is bad when a team runs one particular play and we can’t stop it even though we worked on it all week. We couldn’t stop it. This was the wrong point to have Homecoming week and that was my fault. The kids have to step up and play too. Nothing positive came out of this other than we have to go back to work. Some guys gave some extra individual effort but some of it was too late and some was just not enough. We have to work on everything. It was bad. We killed ourselves with penalties. We will see how these kids respond, I know how I am going to respond.”
In the first quarter the Marauders scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by Johnny Newton. Clearwater made the extra point giving them a 7-0 lead with 7:24 left in the first. The Marauders added two-points when a snap went out of the endzone. The Marauders made it 16-0 with a 22-yard TD pass to Jordan Niles.
The Blue Streaks narrowed the deficit in the second quarter. The Marauders fumbled the ball and Sebring’s Johnny Brown scooped it up and ran the ball 30-yards for a touchdown. The Blue Streaks made the extra point cutting the deficit to 16-7.
Sebring’s strong defense of Brown, Chase Doty, Bailey Riggles, Ethan McMillian and Quentin Joyner all made big defensive tackles for losses through out the game.
The Blue Streaks worked their way to Clearwater’s 4-yard line but quaterback, Kasey Hawthorne was brought down on the 15-yard line for a big loss. Sebring went for a 32-yard field goal chopping the deficit to 16-10 with 0:35 left in the first half.
During halftime the Homecoming court was announced. Sebring’s Chase Doty and Kristal Deery were named King and Queen.
“I am very excited to be named Homecoming Queen,” said Deery. “I was not expecting it at all and I was shocked. I am cheerleader and a senior this year and it has been very stressful but I am glad I had the opportunity to experience such a great event. Cheerleading is going great and I am very proud of our squad.”
During the third period the Marauders worked their way up to Sebring’s 2-yard line. Clearwater handed the ball off to Newton who ran the ball in the final yards for another Marauder touchdown. The extra point was good escalating their lead to 23-10.
Dorris scored again for the Marauders, increasing their lead to 30-10 with 2:42 left in the game.
The Blue Streaks didn’t quit, as Hawthorne made a 21-yard pass to Michael Shultz who dove for the catch as he was being tackled. Shultz was brought down on Clearwater’s 8-yard line. A flag against the Marauders pushed Sebring to Clearwater’s 3-yard line. Hawthorne did a quarterback keep for a touchdown. The Blue Streaks’ kicker Alen Arceo made the extra point narrowing the deficit to 30-17.
“I honestly would have rather won the game than being named Homecoming King,” said Doty. “Homecoming King wasn’t a big deal for me. I just wanted to win the game. We didn’t stay disciplined and got involved with the crowd too much. We didn’t stay in our lane. Homecoming week didn’t affect me very much because I knew we still had a job to do. I did make a few big hits and that felt great. It felt great to win King. I am really thankful for everyone that voted for me. This is my senior year and it hurts my heart a little bit knowing this is my last year, but I know I am on to bigger and better things.”
Hawthorne ran for 27 yards and threw for 77, while Shultz added 26 on the ground and E.J. Lockett added 25.
The Sebring Blue Streaks came up short with a final score of 30-17. Sebring will be on the road Friday to face the Mulberry Panthers with kickoff at 7:30 p.m.