PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – The Bay football team is leaving the 2021 season in the rearview and eying a successful 2022 start under new head coach, Jeremy Brown.
The Tornadoes finished the 2021 season 2-8, losing five consecutive games to close the year. The team was riddled with injuries, including rising senior quarterback Will Smiley, who tore his ACL.
“Junior year was definitely very hard, with the injuries, not just me, with a lot of our players,” Smiley said. “But, we’re all healthy now, getting back to normal, getting back to the program.”
Bay junior linebacker, Dominick Gianfrancisco, said he’s seen a vast improvement from their team just since this spring.
“I’m really confident in our team’s ability,” Gianfrancisco said. “And I think our preparation in the summer really worked out, and this new coaching, we’re really organized and a lot better built.”
The Tornadoes’ new head coach is Bay High School alum, Jeremy Brown. He has much experience coaching in Bay County as he spent eight seasons at Mosley from 2013-2020.
Brown said he wants to restore the pride in playing football at Bay while giving his opponents a team to fear.
“They’re going to say we’re really fast and really physical,” Brown said. “We have a bunch of guys that can run, we have some guys that will fly around and knock the snot out of you, and we have some offensive linemen that are big and strong. We’ll be 300 pounds across the offensive line, our smallest lineman will be about 260, all of them bench over 300, we’re going to be physical, we’re going to be strong up front. Guys are going to come in and say man we better load the box because they’re going to run the football.”
With the addition of senior quarterback Seth Warren, Bay has plans to run a dual quarterback offense.
Bay senior linebacker Jyqwuan Pennywell said having Smiley back from injury gives a massive boost to their team.
“He’s been throwing darts all summer, lasers,” Pennywell said. “He’s been healthy, he’s been running healthy, he’s been healthy all summer, eating healthy, lifting healthy, squatting healthy, everything. I’m proud of my boy, I’m happy he’s back, blessed that he’s back.”
With the introduction of the FHSAA’s Metro and Suburban reclassifications, Bay has been placed in a district with Rutherford, North Bay Haven and South Walton.
After a disappointing 2021 season, the Tornadoes might have been written off by most, but Smiley said they want everyone to know that they’re back and ready to compete.
“There’s most definitely a chip on our shoulder,” Smiley said. “We feel like everybody forgot about us, so we going to carry that on throughout the season. And hopefully by the time the work we put in Monday through Thursday, that Friday night we’re going to show a lot of people what they’ve been missing.”
Bay will open their season with a kickoff classic on the road facing Enterprise on Saturday, August 20.