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Bay and Arnold football teams getting set for rare midseason rematch

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 9:27 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG) -It is rather rare for high school football teams to play each other twice during the regular season. This season is anything but normal though, and so it’s not a huge surprise to see Bay and Arnold getting set to play each other for a second time this fall.

The Tornadoes Friday heading west across the Hathaway Bridge to take on the Marlins for a second head to head meeting. with the first game taking place November 2nd at Tommy Oliver, Bay’s home field. The Tornadoes winning that game by 5, 29-24.

So why the regular season rematch? Well back in August, coaches Norris Vaughan at Arnold and coach Keith Bland at Bay were working hard to fill out their schedules as best they could. They had both lost games to teams that couldn’t travel early on, and their teams had a travel prohibition as well for the first few weeks. So the coaches decided why not schedule a home and home series this fall. Hence the second head to head game Friday.

Coach Vaughan has since retired for health reasons, and Shawn Campbell is Arnold’s head coach. He says he likes the idea of this midseason rematch.

“Financially it’s going to be beneficial to us because of the pandemic situation, you know our finances aren’t what they usually are.” coach Campbell told me during a Zoom meeting I had with both coaches Wednesday morning. “So that way we’re really excited about it. This is the first time I’ve ever dealt with it in the regular season. You know in the past I’ve played a team in the fall, during the regular season and then wound up playing them in the playoffs. So that’s a completely different situation. To do it in such a short turnaround is interesting, so our kids are fired up.”

“You know it works out, it is a unique situation that you’re doing a home and home during the regular season.” Bay head coach Keith Bland told me. “For our kids a lot of times the beach feels like another town, another community, because it is across the bridge. You know we were fortunate to get the win the first time we played here at our place in a close game. It’s gonna be tough for us to win two against the same team in a season.”

There simply doesn’t seem to be much of a downside to the two teams playing again here in the regular season. Especially when you compare it to both teams sitting idle this week. After all, it’s all about giving the players opportunities to play, given all they have been through with this pandemic, and before that, dating back to Hurricane Michael!

“The kids have really answered the challenge.” coach Campbell said. “They come to work every day, and we’ve had some good days and some bad days, but I’m so proud of them because they’re just hanging in there. And they’re trying to finish this thing strong. And that was our goal, we talked about it when coach Vaughan retired that we’ve got to finish strong, and it’s gonna be a struggle. Every other day is going to be different, and we’ve got to play it one day at a time, and take it one moment at a time, and try to get better.”

“You know the one thing that I’ve really enjoyed in this role, in this capacity, is getting to know the kids on an individual basis.” coach Bland told us about guiding his team this season. "And seeing some of the adverse situations that they experienced over the past. And they still show up with great attitude, a gracious spirit, they want to work hard and they want to get better.

That game at Gavlak on the Arnold campus Friday set for 7 o’clock and it’s one of several we’ll feature on Friday Night Overtime

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