PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Since spring practice was canceled last year due to the pandemic, he Bay High football team is grateful to have it back this year.
“It all starts in practice, if you do well in practice, you do well in the game,” Bay high football player K.T. McManigal said.
The Tornadoes really turned things around for the program last season, going from a 2-8 record in 2019 to a 5-3 record with a trip to the playoffs last year.
The players want to build on that foundation some more this year, so these spring practices are crucial for them.
“The difference from spring and fall is spring is really like the beginning of the season, so you got to take it as serious as you do the fall, whatever you put in in spring that’s what you’re gonna put in in fall,” Bay quarterback Will Smiley said.
The players feeling confident about what they can do this season because this group of Tornadoes is made up of a lot of rising juniors who have been playing together for a while now.
“One reason I say that is because we have the same team, we have a couple of new people out here, but I just feel like this season is gonna be the season,” Smiley said.
The Tornadoes also feeling a little extra motivated this week in practice after seeing Bay High alum Janarius Robinson get drafted in the NFL Draft by the Vikings in the fourth round on Saturday.
“Seeing him get drafted was a dream come true not just for him but for us, that doesn’t happen often down here for us and not just letting us know that we put in just as much work as he did to also get to that level,” Smiley said.
The team is not shying away from any challenges this season. They have a tough schedule in the fall and it’s no different in spring as they will take on Arnold and Mosley in a jamboree in a few weeks.
“It’s a tough night, but for us to find out where we are as a program we need that challenge. We were fortunate to get some wins over Arnold last year, lost to Mosley, but I think that’s the measuring stick for everyone around here,” Bay head football coach Keith Bland said. “Mosley is a much larger school, twice our size, but their program has been successful in the past. So if we want to measure where we are and where we need to be we need to play tougher competition.”
Tougher competition means a lot of hard work in practice, but the Tornadoes are prepared for that.
“What people should know about this year is that we’re not playing around. Last couple of years, we’ve been kinda moseying along but this year is when we put it all into effect it’s all or nothing this year,” McManigal said.