Quaide Weimerskirch is gone.
So are his 6,000 yards of total offense (695 carries, 4,685 rushing yards, 58 touchdowns).
For the Pace Patriots, this is the reality of the 2015 season.
“That’s some big shoes to fill,” said Anthony Johnson Jr., who served alongside Weimerskirch in the Patriots’ backfield last season. “Quaide — that’s some real big shoes to fill, but I’m just going to try and do my best to do what I can do.
“Hopefully I can have two good seasons as he had my junior and senior year.”
Johnson, the team’s tailback, will inherit Weimerskirch’s role as the ‘go-to’ option for the Patriots this season.
As far as succession goes, the junior is a more-than-capable replacement for his predecessor and has his sights on eclipsing his teammates’ records.
“I already beat his sophomore yardage,” said Johnson. “If I get two 2,000 yard seasons my junior and senior year — I got it. That’s not all I want, of course, but this team’s going to be good.”
A varied offense will help.
Pace — traditionally a ‘run first, ask questions later’ team — enters the season with a veteran receiving core for the team’s as-of-yet unknown starting QB.
“We’ve got a bunch of talent,” said Brice Peaden, the team’s senior tight end. “Good receivers, a great tight end — me (laughs).
“We’ve got a great running back … We’ve got a lot of options this year.”
“We’ve got a lot of places to go in terms of different play calls and stuff like that,” he said. “We should be better this year in passing. We’ve got some real good quarterbacks and some real good wide receivers this year … and our wide receiver core is healthy so we should be straight as far as passing.
“That will open up even more opportunities for the run.”
With the team’s confidence high, all that remains is for the Patriots to cut their teeth on a brutal schedule that pits the team in a four-team district against rival Milton, Navarre and Gulf Breeze.
“I think it will be a physical season,” defensive lineman Chandler Hines said. “The teams we play are always physical. I think they designed the schedule that way because we play physical ball so we play teams that play physical ball.
“We have a lot of talent this year. We have some really good guys coming up and when we play the way we play, with intensity, we play hard-nosed. We hit people. That’s what we do and when we do that, no one will be able to get anything.
“We can shut down anything when we play the way we play.”
13 in 13 series
•Saturday, Aug. 8: Catholic Crusaders
•Sunday, Aug. 9: Escambia Gators
•Monday, Aug. 10: Gulf Breeze Dolphins
•Tuesday, Aug. 11: Jay Royals
•Wednesday, Aug. 12: Milton Panthers
•Thursday, Aug. 13: Navarre Raiders
•Friday, Aug. 14: Northview Chiefs
•Today: Pace Patriots
•Sunday, Aug. 16: Pensacola Tigers
•Monday, Aug. 17: Pine Forest Eagles
•Tuesday, Aug. 18: Tate Aggies
•Wednesday, Aug. 19: Washington Wildcats
•Thursday, Aug. 20: West Florida Jaguars
•Sunday, Aug. 23: Super Seniors
Pace Patriots (5-5 last season)
Fort Walton Beach
at Pensacola High
at Pine Forest
*—Denotes District 2-6A game.
Aug. 29 lost to Choctawhatchee 36-28; Sept. 5 lost to Niceville 55-13; Sept. 12 lost to Navarre 49-21;Sept. 19 beat Washington 35-18; Sept. 26 beat Madison County 58-37; Oct. 3 beat Pine Forest 28-6; Oct. 10 beat Fort Walton Beach 42-21; Oct. 17 lost to Pensacola High 35-10; Oct. 24 lost to Escambia 43-7; Oct. 31 beat Milton 47-7.
Players to watch
Anthony Johnson, Jr.
Skinny: The understudy of current Georgia Tech tailback Quaide Weimerskirch, Johnson will look to one-up his performance from last season — 739 yards on 116 attempts that resulted in nine touchdowns.
Skinny: Second on the team in receiving yards in 2014 (137 yards), Peaden could see a bulk of the team’s passes this season and make a nice weapon for the Patriots when they turn to the air.
Skinny: Just a freshman last season, Davis led the team in tackles with 76 (39 solo and 37 assisted).
Skinny: A new addition to the team, Nash should make an immediate impact at the line of scrimmage for the Patriots.
Top 3 games
•Oct. 9, vs. Tate: Pace coach Mickey Lindsey welcomes son, Jay (current Tate head coach and former Patriot assistant coach), home as father faces son in a meeting of two of the area’s top teams.
•Oct. 30, vs. Milton: One of the Panhandle’s biggest rivalries, the 2015 meeting of the two teams will see the Patriots looking to defend their bragging rights after winning on the road last year.
•Nov. 6, at Catholic: The Patriots travel to Gorecki-LeBeau Stadium to close out the 2015 regular season against the Crusaders — the first time the programs have met since 2012.