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Braves and Bulldogs cleaning things up before matchup

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 7:17 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Marianna and Walton will go head to head on Friday night with both carrying a little bit of momentum.

The Braves are 3-1 on the season with wins over Vernon, Jay, and Maclay. Their only loss came in week two against county-rival, South Walton.

A big reason for the good start is the Braves are scoring a lot of points. They had 156 in the four games with just under a 40 points per game average. It’s a varied, run base attack with several runners sharing the load.

“We’re playing hard on defense too,” said head coach, Keith White. “The offensive coaches are doing a great job, the offensive line is blocking really well. We’ve got three running backs that we can hand the ball to at any time, and they don’t mind sharing. As a matter of fact they kind of rather go in about every other play to be honest with you. We do run the ball very well, and we’ve got a lot of skill players, so it’s been fun.”

There is a lot of reason for optimism surrounding the team, this program, which has in recent years, struggled somewhat. In fact the previous five seasons, before coach White took over, the team’s record 16-32.

“I would say just learning how to win the big game,” said Coach White. “Or maybe learning how to compete against a school that’s bigger than us. They’ve had a hard time here winning the big games over the past few years. And we just need one of those to kind of get over the hump with. And then I think that it’s gonna be really really good. Because the kids have really bought in, they’re really working hard in the weight room. And they believe in me, trust in me, and they’ve started trusting each other. But if we could figure out how to win one of these games against a bigger school I think it could really propel us. "

As for Marianna, the Bulldogs head west this week toting a 2-2 mark. The two losses came in weeks one and three to Port St. Joe and Blountstown respectively, two of the best 1A teams in the state no doubt. The wins came against North Florida Christian and Rutherford, with the latter victory coming at home last week.

“We played some really good football teams along the way so far already,” said head coach, John Donaldson. “And didn’t perform well on the road. Made too many mistakes and they were able to capitalize on those. But we played well last week and beat a good Rutherford team. And we’re excited. I like the way we get after it on defense, we get after the ball carrier on defense. We’re still missing tackles and giving up some big plays that we shouldn’t have along the way. But I like our tenacity to get after the ball. It’s something we’ve got to continue.”

The Dawgs hoping to get things cleaned up ahead of Friday’s game.

“We’ve had a tendency to be a little sloppy,” said Coach Donaldson. “We lost some key players very early in the season, for the year. And it’s forced us into some turnovers. And we’ve just been sloppy with the football at times. And had some weather events that haven’t helped a little bit. But we’ve got to take care of the football and be a little bit smarter. Just some operational problems. And that comes with a young team. We’ve got a lot of tenth graders, especially offensively. But we’ve got to sharpen that up for sure. "

Coach White said Walton fans are excited for the matchup, and kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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