The Tate Aggies made the deepest postseason push out of any team in the PNJ-coverage area last season.
But what’s done is done.
The Aggies and head coach Jay Lindsey will start making their evaluations for the upcoming season tonight when they play host to district rival Pine Forest.
“As a coach, it is our job to get kids in the right position to help them and our team be successful,” Lindsey said. “I wanna see who will compete (Friday night). It’s not about who runs the fastest or throws the farthest … it’s about those kids that are ready to play their hearts out. On Friday nights, you’ve got a better chance of winning if you have kids that play all-out.”
The Aggies and Eagles clashed twice last season — first in the district championship (Pine Forest win) and then three weeks later in the regional semifinals.
Though Friday’s night game won’t mean as much as last season’s meetings, there’s still plenty to benefit from for both squads.
“Only negative thing about spring is that these guys are hitting (tackling) each other in practice all the time — so they are excited to hit someone else (on Friday night),” Lindsey said. “Spring games are basically a glorified practice. Both teams usually get better by the end of the game. Of course it’s exciting to get back out there, but in my eyes it’s still about evaluating what we need to improve on.”
And rivalry is certainly the theme for Friday night’s spring games, as Pace hosts Milton while Navarre clashes with Gulf Breeze.
Pace and Milton last stepped on the same field during a three-team shootout to decide the final playoff spot in District 2-6A last season.
Prior to that meeting, the Panthers stunned Pace in the battle for the bronze helmet with a clutch field goal as time expired.
As for the Navarre Raiders, they’ll carry the momentum from last year’s 47-7 win over the Gulf Breeze Dolphins.
Escambia will host Mobile Davidson for a Florida-Alabama rivalry.
2016 spring games
•Navarre at Gulf Breeze, 6:30 p.m.
•Milton at Pace, 7 p.m. — Varsity second half
•Pine Forest at Tate, 7 p.m. — Varsity second half
•Mobile Davidson at Escambia, 7:30 p.m. — Varsity first three quarters
•Northview at Jay