Dan Hoehne/News-Sun files Alfred Brown ran for two scores and threw for another, but Avon Park's late comeback came up short Friday night.
published: Sunday, October 20, 2013
Red Devil rally falls just short
By DAN HOEHNE
All season long, Avon Park head coach Wade Jackson has been looking for that spark.
That big play that builds into another and soon becomes the norm, with wins following soon after.
They didn't quite get there Friday night, but the Red Devils made some big steps in that direction as they fell just short against LaBelle, 31-28.
Things didn't start off too well as a 12-yard gain on the Cowboys first play was extended by a horse collar penalty, and on the next play, running back Danny Robinson took it in from the 19 for a 7-0 lead.
But the Devils quickly answered back and showed this was going to be a battle throughout.
An 11-play drive was capped off by a one-yard Alfred Brown plunge at the 5:22 mark to tie it up after Brooks Whidden's extra point kick sailed true.
LaBelle then stuck to the ground for most of their next drive, with one eight-yard pass play amid a 13-play drive that bridged into the second quarter.
Robinson again took it in for the score, this time from five yards out, to put the Cowboys up 14-7 with 9:22 left in the half.
Avon Park went three-and-out on their next series, but Josh Jones came up with a big interception to get the ball right back.
Then, just three plays later, the Devils tied it up on a Lauer Lewis touchdown from the two.
The teams traded possessions, but LaBelle got one more short drive in that resulted in a 31-yard field goal at the buzzer for a 17-14 lead at the half.
The third quarter was all Cowboys as they looked to run away with it, scoring twice - one a 22-yard Robinson run and an 82-yard burst up the middle by Jerome Baxter.
"We've been working on our tackling and thought we had that taken care of," Jackson said. "But we're still too timid with our tackling."
Down 31-14 into the fourth, Avon Park soon made things interesting.
A 10-play drive saw a mix of runs and passes, with Brown connecting for 16 and nine yards to freshman Moses Satine and Ahmaad Smith, respectively, before finding Satine again for a 12-yard touchdown.
This moved the score to 31-21 with 2:41 left, with the Devils then giving themselves a chance when they pounced on the ensuing onside kick.
After a couple of incomplete passes and a 13-yard loss, Brown broke off runs of 24 and 30 yards to bring it to the Cowboy one.
Brown then burst in with 51.8 seconds left to narrow the gap to 31-28.
Another onside kick was tried, but the ball was ruled touched by Avon Park before it had gone the necessary 10 yards, giving the ball to LaBelle.
Two kneel downs later and the final seconds ticked off the clock to end the game.
"We're still getting down too much after a bad play or a turnover," Jackson said. "They need to realize that the big play happens on the next play.
"But I saw a lot of good things, a lot of guys had really nice games and I'm happy with the freshmen we brought up, they really contributed."
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