CRESTVIEW — One dress rehearsal stands between Crestview High School’s football team and the regular season.
The Bulldogs will travel to Pace on Friday to take on the Patriots in the Kickoff Classic. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
First-year Crestview coach Tim Hatten said he doesn’t have much use for preseason games.
“It’s just a glorified fundraiser,” he said. “To me it’s just another game for somebody to get hurt in.
“Some coaches believe you get them out there and have a dress rehearsal. I can think of a better way to do a dress rehearsal. But we have to play it, and we will line it up and play it.”
Hatten won’t be concerned with the Patriots. He will be focused on what his team does.
“It doesn’t matter who you play,” he said. “We are just going to do what we do. The best thing about a Kickoff Classic is when the clock hits zero.
“You just try to control your turnovers and not make any stupid penalties.”
Coming off two straight disappointing seasons, the Crestview players are hungry for success, even in a preseason game.
“I’m ready to get it started,” senior receiver Matt Gillis said. “I think we are going to be all right. The offense is coming together pretty good, and we’ve got a good defense behind us, and I think everybody is going to pull behind us.
“Each game we play is just about like our Super Bowl. We play each game like it’s our last and try our best. What we need to do is not sweat the small stuff and keep getting in the big picture and just keep our goals in mind.”
Junior running back Emmanuel Reed agreed that beating the Patriots is big for the Bulldogs as they try to establish a winning mindset heading into the Aug. 30 season opener at Milton.
“I think it’s important to win to get us ready for Milton,” he said. “We are going to go out there and try to win, but mostly we just want to try and stay healthy.
“I think the offseason has gone good. Coach Hatten, he’s a good head coach. I think he’s a better offensive coordinator because he has a good mindset and he’s going to be good at a head coach.”
After sharing playing time at running back with his older brother, Micah, a freshman on the University of Central Florida football team, Reed knows he must be ready.
“I played a lot with my brother, and it’s just me now. I’ve got to toughen up and get a lot of carries this year.”
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.
WHO: Crestview at Pace
WHAT: Kickoff Classic
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday