Numbers, experience and athletes top all three Destin Dolphin teams this season as they get ready to kick it off this weekend in the Panhandle Youth Football Association Jamboree in Niceville at Twin Oaks Park.
The Panhandle Youth Football Association is made up of teams from Crestview, Freeport, Lynn Haven, DeFuniak Springs, Panama City Beach, Niceville, South Walton, Shalimar, Vernon, Fort Walton Beach and Destin.
The Destin Dolphins will field three teams — Seniors, Juniors and Peewees.
The Senior Dolphins, made up of 11-12 year olds, will field 24 players.
“We’ve got a lot of returning players,” said Destin Senior Coach Ryan Orr.
Some of those returning to the Destin lineup include quarterback Harrison Orr; center Garrett Jacobs; linebackers Brandon and Christian Harnish, Brick Larabee; defensive backs Austin McDaniel and Archer Yates; linemen Aiden Mohr, Dalton Taylor and Zach Thomas; and nose guard Erik Scott.
This group of guys finished the season last year 7-3 and managed to shut out all three Niceville teams last season.
“Defense is probably our strongest,” Orr said.
The Senior Dolphins will play Shalimar at 3:30 p.m.
As for the Junior Dolphins, made up of 9-10 year olds, they top out at 30 players and look to be strong on defense as well.
“We’re looking good so far and they are a lot more athletic than they have been,” said Junior Coach Dennis Phillips. “We have some first timers, but they are athletes.”
But the strength of the Dolphins is defense.
“We’ve got a lot of athletes that run around the ball,” Phillips said.
As for the offense, players to look for are Maddox Hayles and Caden Chapman in the backfield, as well as Clark Adams and Zack Clark on the line blocking.
The Juniors will take the field at 5:15 p.m. against Niceville.
The Peewee Dolphins, made up of 7-8 year olds, will suit up 24 players this season, which is almost double than what they had last year.
“We’ve got a lot more kids so we are able to run full scrimmages,” said Peewee Coach Jordan Bowen.
Plus they have about nine kids returning from last year.
“We’ve got a good dynamic on the team,” Bowen said. “They listen well and seem like they are picking stuff up pretty good.”
The Peewees will play at 1:30 p.m. against South Walton on Saturday.