PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – While other football teams in Bay County are still conditioning, the North Bay Haven Buccaneers have their helmets on and are practicing.
Since they are a charter school, they don’t have to follow the district’s guidelines of starting on Sept. 4.
The players and coaches couldn’t be happier their administration allowed them to start on Monday.
“We’re just fortunate to be in the position we are and it’s a different unique position, but it’s great to finally be out here and just be able to do something,” Buccaneers head football coach Andy Siegal said. “Everybody has been doing conditioning, and conditioning gets to a point where okay enough is enough, and here we are.”
This year’s squad has around 20 seniors on it, and Coach Siegal believes it’s the biggest senior class they have ever had.
The seniors said it was a blessing to get to play this year for so many reasons.
“For many people like me, last year was my first year playing so I need as much tape from my senior season as I can get,” North Bay Haven football player Randle Smith said.
Since so many of those experienced players are on the defensive and offensive lines this season, they think those will be their biggest strengths on the field.
“We got a lot of them that are a little bit older guys and big guys, guys like Josh Stuckey was all-state, Chewy is a three year starter on the offensive line,” Siegal said.
The Buccaneers were donning different helmets at practice too. That’s because thet have whats called “Guardian Caps” on top of them.
“They’re supposed to reduce the opportunity to get a concussion, most concussions happen during practice cause of repetitive blows so we’ve got it and every kid in our program from junior high to varsity has a guardian cap on their helmet,” Siegal said.
That’s not the only thing new for the team this year. They are breaking in a new practice field while their home stadium is being worked on and could be finished for a game this year.
“We just unloaded a truck full of bleachers and we got a nice practice field that we’re trying to enjoy while we can and try to make the best of everything we got,” North Bay Haven football player Cole Haddock said.
The Buccaneers will play a preseason scrimmage against Franklin County on Sept. 4 and they open up their regular season against Munroe on Sept. 11.