PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – The Bay football team is returning from two consecutive bye weeks ranked by the FHSAA as the No. 7 team in Florida for Class 2S.

Bay (3-1) began their regular season one week before Florida teams started, playing their opening match in Enterprise, Alabama, where they were a week ahead.

In their last three games, the Tornadoes have outscored opponents by combined 69 points, with their defense picking six interceptions and two recovered fumbles.

Bay Head Football Coach Jeremy Brown said it’s nice to be recognized in their rankings but hopes his players are distracted from their mission.

“Like Coach (Nick) Saban says, sometimes that stuff is rat poison,” Brown said. “You start listening to it, and I think kids this age especially start listening to it saying, “Oh we’re here, we’re this, we’re that, maybe I don’t have to practice, and maybe I don’t have to worry about going to class because I’ve arrived, and we haven’t said anything about it, don’t plan on it, hopefully, they don’t see this.”

On Wednesday, Hurricane Ian made landfall in south Florida, bringing a reminder of the destruction Hurricane Michael brought to the Panhandle in 2018.

“We’re praying for them, and just wishing the best for everyone down there,” Brown said. “It’s tough on kids, when they prepare and they practice, something like this hits and you have some senior football players down in south Florida, this could very well, they could have played their last high school football game.”

Bay will open their district schedule with a home game against North Bay Haven Friday night. Kickoff from Tommy Oliver Stadium is set for 7:00 p.m. CST.