Wewahitchka prepares for Friday opener, coach talks abut new 6-quarter rule

Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 9:47 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -The start of the 2020 High School footbal season is just a couple of days away now. And over at Wewahitchka, the excitement is building. So says head coach Bobby Johns.

Johns and his staff working with 25 players on the varsity level as they get set to open the season Friday against Cottondale. Before Tuesday’s practice, a second day in full pads for the Gators, I asked the coach if, after the long grinding summer conditioning season, he was starting to see the intensity level of his players rise?

“Well we kind of hoped we would yesterday, the first day and pads and it took about 15 minutes of some live contact and we started running out of gas.” the coach told me. “I mean the excitement level is there. I think they’re a little nervous. It’s been along time since they played football. We didn’t get a spring at all, we didn’t get to play anybody in the spring. Haven’t played a lot of football lately. We’ve got a lot of young kids. So I think there’s a lot of nerves on our part right now. But as we get closer to Friday I think the intensity will step up.”

Coach Johns, as part of that FHSAA Board of Directors, playing a pivotal role in the season beginning this month. Now he’s focused on helping his team stay healthy, practice and play the games starting this week.

One important change that should help all programs, but particularly small school programs, the so called 6-quarter rule, which allows players on the j.v. level an additional two quarters of play each week!

“It allows us to take that kid that as a young kid, or as a j.v. type player that we need on the varsity for depth purposes.” coach Johns told me before his team’s practice Tuesday. “Maybe we’ve only got one backup corner or one backup linebacker and we need that guy to be able to step in and do that. Now he has to play varsity all the time and he never gets the chance to play j.v., well now he can play 2 quarters of j.v. and 4 quarters of varsity. Or he can play three and three, or four and two. So it allows that guy to get some playing time even though we might need him as a back up on the varsity.”

That opener Friday will be at Cottondale, the Gators follow that up with their home opener against Franklin next Friday. The public is welcome at the games in Gulf County, with masks voluntary.

Copyright 2020 WJHG. All rights reserved.

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