PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – The North Bay Haven football team is entering its third week of spring practice under new head coach John Pate.
Pate has decades of coaching experience at the high school and collegiate level and is planning on turning the Buccaneers program around immediately.
“I’m not a very patient person,” Pate said. “I’ve been doing this since buck was a calf so I’ve been coaching a long, long time, I’m not patient, I expect to win.”
North Bay Haven has won three games in each of the past three seasons and only has one winning season in the program’s 10-year history. Pate wants that to change but knows his team is still very young.
“We’re going to be real young,” Pate said. “If we started and played a game tomorrow night, we’d have seven maybe eight sophomores in the starting lineup. So, that’s good for us, it’s bad for us because they haven’t played a lot of varsity football but it’s good for us because I think that’s going to be the nucleus of how we’ll progress.”
The Buccaneers will have to replace graduating senior quarterback Chad Watts but Pate said he already has his guy in rising sophomore Lakota Johnson, who possesses dual-threat capabilities.
“I think on some of the option stuff he’s got to be able to distribute it,” Pate said. “He’s got great feet, he’s got a great sense of where the pitchman is going to be and he’s got good fast feet. There’s nothing wrong with a passing game that has option one, option two, option three.”
The Bucs will also have to replace star running back Nate Webb who had over a thousand yards rushing his senior year, but Pate said he has an idea who will pick up the slack in the run game.
“Malachi Boles is going to be kind of that guy,” Pate said. “And you know we’re trying to find roles for everybody and I’m really impressed with some of the young linemen, I mean we have a couple that have really stood out.”
North Bay Haven will be changing many of its offensive and defensive schemes before the fall rolls around but Pate said the spring season was mostly about evaluation for him.
“I want to see who’s a team player,” Pate said. “Erk used to say big team little me, and I want to see who’s going to sacrifice maybe some individual statistics for us being better collectively as a football team, and when you spread the wealth, that’s what has to happen.”
The Buccaneers will wrap up their spring season with an intrasquad scrimmage on Friday, May 20.