PANAMA CITY, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - A new year means new beginnings. And that's exactly what's in store for Panama City.
"It's been beyond what I could imagine starting out," Bryan Caudill, North Florida Titans coach/owner. "We've got a lot of talent from both teams."
Two area semipro football teams have joined forces this month, and will step on the field in 2018 and play as the North Florida Titans.
"So we're in the XSFL which is a semipro league," Caudill said. "It goes from Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee. This year we've got up around 12 teams in the league. We play all of them."
Next year the Titans will have many familiar faces on the coaching staff and player roster.
"We've got some real experienced guys that do high school coaching, and we've got 57 guys on the roster right now and we've cut about 15 already. So we're turning players away that aren't the caliber talent that we're looking for."
Many of these players are ex-high school stars in our region that once lined up and competed against each other on the gridiron.
"So we get real competitive at practice," Caudill said. "We're probably more competitive at practice than we are during the games sometimes. And that's bad to say also as a coach, but these guys are out here busting their hind ends for their positions."
Playing in the XSFL puts these guys in a position to chase after their dreams.
"What we try to do is get guys to the next level," Caudill said. "Give guys another chance, give guys an outlet from doing stuff that they normally do in their lives that may not be productive to them. Out here, together, part of a team, learning respect and get better at the game of football."
From struggling to keep 20 players to now having 58 man roster, this semipro team's hope and dreams for the 2018 season's bigger than ever.
"I want a ring come June so our main focus is getting that championship game and getting a ring."
Caudill says they're doing a championship game on pro-bowl weekend next season in Biloxi, MS where there will be scouts on deck.