Mosley looks ahead to first region final in decades

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 5:48 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The Mosley football team is gearing up for a big matchup in the 6A Region Final with a trip to Pensacola on Friday night to take on Pine Forest.

The Fins advancing to the final after a win over Lincoln in the 6A Region Semifinal and now sit at 11-1.

Pine Forest has a fairly similar record at 10-1 and is the top team in the region.

Mosley head coach, Tommy Joe Whiddon, saying the game will be a little bit of a reunion for him as he came to Lynn Haven this season after his time at Booker T. Washington turning their program around. He added that he is expecting to see quite a few Wildcats fans at the game.

This is the deepest playoff run the Fins have made in decades, but for Coach Whiddon, the pressure isn’t something he dwells on.

“We’re just focusing on ourselves going out,” said Coach Whiddon. “Let’s just make sure we’re doing the things we have done all season. We’ve created this moment for ourselves. Let’s be ready to embrace it, and I’ve got confidence in our guys. If we go out and play our style of ball, everything will take care of itself.”

For senior defensive back, Jarvis Fennell, it’s not solely the pressure of the playoffs that he feels.

“You know, when Coach Whiddon came in, he put a lot of pressure on us, but a lot of pressure did come from the baseball and the volleyball team as well, since all the programs are doing good,” said Fennell. “We are feeling all the pressure, but we are ready to live up to it, especially with Coach Whiddon. We are ready for it.”

The game is guaranteed to be a battle on both sidelines, but for the Fins, getting to play football the week of Thanksgiving is something they’ve had their eye on since Coach Whiddon walked in the door.

“We’re really excited,” said Coach Whiddon. “In every football season, if you are playing on Thanksgiving week, that means your season was really successful, so we are excited about this. I’ve told our kids that this will be something that they remember for the rest of their lives, just being out here, no school, football all day. It’s just a really, really fun week to be a part of.”

For Fennell, it’s a new opportunity and challenge he and his fellow Fins have never faced before.

“It feels great though. We’ve been looking forward to this moment for forever, though. Y’all don’t understand how much Coach Whiddon has been talking about this. This is the greatest week of football. To be a part of it is amazing though because I, like you said, have never been here before. It’s the first time.”

Coach Whiddon says it will be a challenge, but with no school, he and his team have had plenty of time to study what the Eagles have been doing so far this season.

“Pine Forest is a really good football team. They are a run first football team, so they’re going to force us to play assignment football, so making sure our guys are locked in on doing their job every single play. We can’t give them any free plays by guys not doing their assignment, and then offensively, we just want to be ourselves. We want to be able to play fast. We want to be able to run the ball and get the ball out to our playmakers out in space.”

More of the same from Fennell.

“It ain’t nothing we ain’t seen before. We ready for it. We already know that they run the ball a lot. We played a lot of teams that ran the ball a lot and we just ready for it to be honest.”

The matchup set for 7:30 p.m. central in Pensacola with Pine Forest hosting.

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