Pensacola High and Catholic High have each fielded a rugged schedule through the first four weeks of the season.
Both teams are likely better than their 1-3 record shows and with district play right around the corner, Friday’s game (at Catholic’s Gorecki-LeBeau Stadium) will serve as one more chance for preparation before district play.
“It’s gonna be a great atmosphere; two schools in such close proximity and both (Catholic and PHS Tigers) bring great crowds,” Catholic coach Greg Seibert said. “I expect the Tigers to have a lot of speed and athleticism. They are a lot better than their record indicates. Coach (Mike) Mincy has done a good job of keeping them playing hard through adversity.”
Catholic may hold the advantage with momentum, as the Crusaders will enter Friday’s game hot off a 28-7 win over Milton.
“It’s always kinda funny when you come off a win like that … you see a little extra energy and focus out there from the kids,” Seibert said. “Our goal is continue to play hard and keep our game plan simple. That’s what has taken place over the last couple weeks. We lost at Escambia, but that carried over to playing extremely hard against Milton. We hope that carries over to this Friday.”
Unfortunately for Catholic last Friday, an injury-riddled season continued its theme as the Crusaders lost Jaylen Fortune to a knee injury.
“We’ll have to shuffle people around. Where we can, we will go next guy up,” said Seibert, referring to Catholic’s plans to battle injury adversity. “We’re gonna continue to run what we run. We’ve tried to look from the Escambia game forward and see what we’ve done well, offensively and defensively, and try to improve on those things.
The Tigers will hit the field feeling battle-tested, coming off a tough loss to one of the area’s hottest teams (Tate).
Bragging rights, momentum and a chance to sharpen skills are all at stake, as the winning team will pick up its second victory of the year.
With two miles of separation between the schools, Pensacola High has won two of the three most recent meetings between the teams.
“All of these kids know each other,” said Seibert, referring to Pensacola High’s and Catholic’s players. “Whether it’s from little league, working out, 7-on-7, or traveling — they all know each other. It will be a tremendous atmosphere (Friday night) that both kids will play hard in.”
And though the Crusaders know their first district games stands less than two weeks away, they’ll keep their tunnel vision towards their ‘cross-the-street’ rival.
“There has been no other process than preparing for PHS this week,” Seibert said. “You can get yourself into an uncomfortable situation if you try to do too many things. But when the clock runs out this Friday, we’ll direct our preparation towards (District 1-3A opponent) Florida High.”
Want to Go?
Who: Pensacola High Tigers vs. Catholic Crusaders
Where: Gorecki-LeBeau Stadium (Catholic High)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Skinny: Pensacola High has topped Catholic in the past two meetings in a rivalry between schools separated by two miles.