Panama City, FL---Call it the next step in the maturation of a football program. The Buccaneers of North Bay Haven are getting set to step up to the varsity level.
Coach Jarod Hale has cultivated this program on the junior varsity level the past few years and is now ready to graduate to varsity ball.
Some 30 plus players ready to play a schedule against other area 1-A teams, though in terms of a district, they will still be an independent.
That schedule includes the likes of South Walton, Freeport, Wewahitchka and Bozeman.
The Buc's believe they certainly are ready for this next step in the maturation of their program, so says senior running back Devante Garland.
"Well it's been a lot of hard work, a lot of practices. Everybody's been working real hard. We've all been just waiting for this moment since we got here and now it's finally here."
King David Smith, the team's senior quarterback agrees with that and believes he's noticed the change in how the players are preparing as compared to the past.
"With the new varsity level comes changes in the football program. We're doing like, the practices are harder, the practices are longer. We've been working out a lot more. Just the normal routine but it's been amped up to a whole new level, like the intensity level in practice is a lot harder."
"It's pretty neat to see the guys grow up since their freshman year, when I got there. says Buc's head coach Jared Hale. "All the way up to our first senior class. So it's really exciting to see their growth, in the weight room, on the field, get bigger, faster, stronger. It's gonna be our first senior class, our first varsity season so the guys are all excited, the school's excited. So there is a lot of excitement going around North Bay Haven."
The Buc's host John Paul the Second in their kickoff Classic on the 23rd then open the regular season at Rocky Bayou the following week.