Marlins look ahead to hosting rival Bay in its 5A-1 district opener

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - On the high school football fields throughout the Panhandle is where scores of area players and coaches were happy to be Tuesday.

That after a few days of rather gloomy and threatening weather. We in the Panhandle blessed to be spared much of Irma's rather.

So for football teams, the loss of a game and/or a few days practice was the cost of that storm.

Again Tuesday was a nice day to get back at it, even though there was no school, teams like Arnold here, working out under the afternoon sun.

The Marlins prepping for the all-important district opener against Bay Friday at Gavlak.

"Glad to be here, glad to get back out here and into some routine," Josh Wright, Arnold football coach said. "We lost Monday, but in the scope of things, not a bad thing compared to what some programs are going through. I feel like if there was a time to lose a Monday, yesterday was kind of good, because we got a few kids banged up at Walton. So hopefully they get one more days rest and get us back to our normal routine and schedule, and they'll be full-go on Friday."

After starting the season with a home win over South Walton, the Marlins lost at Fort Walton beach two weeks ago, and then at Walton this past Friday.

That a tough 19-10 defeat for coach Wright and his guys, some big plays like this one called back on penalties, some calls they feel didn't go their way.

"Just frustrated," Wright said. "Frustrated to put in the work, and not get the reward. Again they keep their nose to the grind, they work hard, and they're looking for that reward. Again, we felt like we did enough things right last week to get that, only to take home a loss. So credit to what they do up at Walton, but we put our feet on the ground ready to get back to work this week. Biggest game of the season is right now, so everything up to this point is getting ready to be good this Friday night."

And that's because it is the start of 5A-1 play against county rival Bay.

Five teams in that district, so this the first of four games that will determine whether or not arnold makes it to the state playoffs.

"We will control our destiny with the district run, and it starts with a win in the first district game against Bay," Wright said. "And then we got Mosley, and so forth and so on. So every district game is basically a season within a season. So this is a good one. Bay is very good at what they do. They get rid of the ball very quickly, their run schemes are good and they've got a sound defense. Again, they're a very good 1-2 team like us."