Destin Dolphins are back in pads and in the game

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

The Destin Dolphins tackle football program is back in the game this season with two teams. 

The Destin Dolphins are fielding a Peewee and a Junior team that will be part of the Panhandle Youth Football Association. 

Miller Smith takes the handoff from Coach Carey Griffith during practice.

The last time Destin fielded a youth tackle football team was 2017, but because of lack of participation and then the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the Dolphins' season didn’t happen. 

But this year they are already on the practice field in pads and helmets and getting ready for the season.  

The Junior team, which is made up of 9- and 10-year-olds, has about 25 players.

Joe Cope explains to the Peewee Dolphin players the correct way to hit. On the left is Grayson Strickland and right is Joseph Cope.

Right now it’s a group effort with about eight dads helping to coach the kids. 

As for the Peewees, which are 7- and 8-year-olds, the team has about 20 players. 

More football news:Destin Middle School Marlins are settling in and making progress for upcoming season

More:Destin Elementary has a new PE teacher; Jenna McCrery is ready to get rolling

“We’re just trying to teach football right now,” said Joe Cope, who was running the players through drills Friday afternoon. “Then we’ll figure out how good we are.” 

Destin Junior Dolphin Luke Guernsey carries the ball while Griffin Phillips tries to run him down during practice.

The players are practicing four days a week on the football field behind Destin Elementary School in preparation for the upcoming season. 

Other teams participating in the Panhandle Youth Football League are Niceville, South Walton, Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Freeport, Lynn Haven, Panama City Beach, Shalimar, Jackson County and Walton County. 

Peewee Dolphins Knox Taylor and Abel Smith go head-to-head during practice drills Friday afternoon in Destin.