Arnold set for district opener after first win

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Arnold Marlins (1-2) are set for a road trip to Pensacola Friday for their 5A district 1 opener, set to face West Florida (0-3).

Arnold head coach Norris Vaughan leads the Marlins into the first week of fall practice

The Marlins and coming off their first win last Friday at Walton, after opening the season with home losses to Blountstown and Fort Walton Beach. Although getting the first "W" under their belts is obviously good coach Norris Vaughan admits there isn't much celebrating going into the start of district play.

"We've got to get back to work," Vaughan said. "Nothing changes, it's just another day, another day building fundamentals and building a team, doing what you're supposed to be doing. Sometimes they want to relax when they finally win a game. You know, we played some pretty good teams. Blountstown was a really good team, the first game."

Although the coach says there is a confidence boost for his team, a tough road test awaits.

"They've always bought in. It's better to be 1-2 than 0-3. Now we're getting ready to play West Florida and they're 0-3, but it's relative.

"[West Florida] played some really good teams. They're really talented. It's gonna be a great challenge for us at their place. They've got a great program. They're very good, very talented but we feel like we've got a good plan. We're gonna go in there and fight 'em, we'll see what happens."

Given how his team played in week one in the 43-10 loss to Blountstown and the late 24-16 loss to Fort Walton Beach, Vaughan saw clear progression up to and including the week three victory.

"I see a big difference in every week that we've played. We've gotten better. A lot better on defense, better on offense, we're getting more comfortable. We only return like two starters on offense from the year before and two or three on defense, so we're very young. We're starting eight kids that are returning next year on offense and the same on defens, so we've got a lot of young people. We've got a lot to learn."

West Florida enters with losses to Escambia, Washington and Catholic, but the Jaguars have won this district five straight years.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m., one of several we'll feature on Friday Night Overtime.

Copyright 2019 WJHG. All rights reserved.