PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - On Monday, high school football teams hit the field for their first practices of fall camp.
That means our 21 Teams in 21 Days segment is returning, where each day we preview with a different team in our viewing area to help you get ready for kickoff.
We will be starting in 5A and moving down to 1A, so first on the list is the Arnold Marlins.
They’re a team with a lot to be excited about this season – they return a ton of talent, including the county's top quarterback in the junior Cade Ledman, last season's top rusher in Jerian Hardrick (who has come over from Mosley), and the county's returning sacks leader in Tristan Patterson.
The key for the marlins will be improved offensive line play. The o-line will be anchored by senior center Jared Dutton.
It's a unit that grew up together last season and started to gel late in the year.
If they can keep their quarterback upright, he's got plenty of weapons on the outside to throw to, including junior Daveno Ellington and the senior Dylan Gandy, who's returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him last year.
Mike Johnson along with Hardrick and Patterson should form a very strong defense.
Last year the Marlins finished second in the county and third in the district, but with this year's playoff rule changes, second place no longer guarantees a playoff spot, so the marlins know they need to aim for first.
"We want to win a bunch of games,” Head Coach Josh Wright says, “We want to do what we haven't done. We want to get in the playoffs. That's certainly a major goal more important than the county title is the District Title. Two of those teams are in the county. But our eyes are focused on getting in the playoffs and have the opportunity to compete and see where it takes us."
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