Tornadoes wrap week one of spring

Published: Apr. 30, 2021 at 9:46 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The Bay Tornadoes are among the local teams putting the wraps on the first week of spring practice Friday.

Coach Keith Bland leading the Tornadoes for a third year, and hoping to continue the arc of improvement shown in the first couple of seasons. The team just 2-8 in 2019, and then jumping up to 5-3 last season, earning a playoff berth. As is always the case in high school ball, you lose certain key players, for instance CJ Campbell moving on as a preferred walk on at FSU. So coach Bland looking for others to step up to help fill the void. The big plus this spring, well they actually have 20 days of spring practice, a luxury not granted to them last year because of the pandemic.

“Absolutely, and when we filled out the schedule we got all twenty days.” the coach told us. “We got them plugged in, penciled in. You know for these kids they haven’t experienced it (spring practice) on the high school level, for the majority of them. But that’s where we get the fundamentals in. It’s not a big time on conditioning. And really we’ve been in shorts. Without the hitting it’s an aspect they’re not getting the coaching on the fundamentals of what football truly is. But it’s still though, they’re out here, lined up, the ones that are committed, that worked hard in the off season. So it’s something that we need to enjoy and take advantage of, and we are.”

We asked the coach if he believes his players, and the coaches as well, are appreciating the opportunity this spring a bit more, given what happened in 2020?

“I was talking with another coach today about giving an extra year of eligibility for high school and I said it’s kind of hard to do that because of the age thing.” coach Bland said. “But those kids that had the spring when COVID cancelled everything for that, they missed out on those opportunities. Which are great memories that they create. So one having gratitude for the opportunity. And working hard to get better each day. And it can be easily taken away. So have a lot of gratitude for having that opportunity and enjoying this great game.”

Bay will wrap spring with a jamboree against Mosley and North Bay Haven May 21st.

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