SPORTS

Destin Dolphins prepare for upcoming season

TINA HARBUCK
Peewee Dolphins Mason Wetzel assists Connor Rising with his helmet.

With only a week of practice under their belts, the Destin Dophins youth tackle football teams are shaping up.

“They are showing a lot of hustle and willingness to learn,” said Nate Beard, coach of the 7-8 year old Destin Peewees.

The Peewees have a lot of returners from last years group that made it to the Super Bowl in the Panhandle Youth Football Association.

And of course that's the goal for this year's squad.

The group practiced eight hours last week and will do the same this week.

“You've got to stay organized for this age group, it's important,” Beard said to hold their attention.

The Mighty Mites, made up of 5- and  6-year-olds, have also been working hard on the practice field, with Monday being the first day in pads.

“They're really good. They are all tall and fast,” said Mighty Mites Coach Jordon Bowen.

“And they're having a good time,” Bowen said.

With the boys huddled up, coach turned and asked them three questions.

“Are we tough?”

“Yes,” the boys yell.

“Are we fast?”

“Yes.”

“Are we girls?”

“No,” the boys respond with a laugh.

“We're having fun,” coach said.

Also on the practice field at the Destin Elementary school Monday was the Destin Juniors made up of 9- and 10-year-olds.

“They are looking good,” said Junior Coach Chad Price.

The Juniors have 31 players on the roster.

“It's a very talented group,” Price said noting they already know the teams rallying cry of  “conditioning, discipline and play as a team.”

Some of the now Juniors made it to the Super Bowl last year as Peewees and are looking to make a repeat performance.

“Our goal is to go to the Super Bowl,” Price said.

The Destin Dolphins kick off their season with a jamboree on Aug. 22 in Niceville with the first regular season games scheduled for Aug. 29.

The Panhandle Youth Football Association is made up of teams from Destin, Niceville, Shalimar, South Walton, Walton County, Panama City Beach, Lynn Haven, Hammock Bay and Crestview.

ON THE TEAM

Mighty Mites

Dylan Baughman, Jacob Bilbrey, Slade Bowen, Elijah Donson, Adler Dougherty, Anthony Figueroa, Hayden Hummel, Anayan Jueong, Hunter Knox, Paul Leman, Mason McPhillips and Dominic Richards.

Peewees

Braxton Beard, Calvin Blackman, Will Blanchard, Griffin Cann, John Castaneda, Kadon Chapman, Jackson  Cox, Owen Davis, Joshua Dixon, Hutton Douglas, Maddox Hayles, Baylen Knox, Jaxson LaPointe, Roman Leibold, Caden Moreland, Carter Phillips, Connor Rising, Gunnar Smith, Landon Teems, Landon Ullrich, Brayden Waters, Cadin Wells and Mason Wetzel.

Juniors

Stephen Baughman, Austin Bilbrey, Price Bowen, Jacob Castle, Cayden Douglas, Charlie Guillory, Carson Hale, Brandon Harnish, Christian Harnish, Cody Hummel, Garrett Jacobs, Brady Kelly, Brick Larabee, Gabe Loper, Dylan Matekovich, Aiden Mohr, Harrison Orr, Carston Phillips, Reed Phillips, Brody Plasier, Chadrick Price, Dean Redmond, Erik Scott, Aidan Sexton, Brady Stephens, Colton Tankersley, Dalton Taylor, Jack Tenholder, Zachary Thomas, Carter Tobik and Wyatt Wainwright.