CRESTVIEW — There are no more practice games for the Crestview High School football team and first-year coach Tim Hatten. The long awaited start of the Tim Hatten era officially arrives Friday night when the Bulldogs travel to Milton for a 7:30 p.m. game.
Fresh off a 17-14 win over Pace in the Kickoff Classic, Hatten knows his team still has work to do.
"We had to fight back and overcome some things, and that was good for us," he said. "I don't know if it would have been good for us if we had lost, but it was good for us since we won.
"You don't mind learning lessons when you win. Learning when you lose is not very much fun."
Hatten hopes the Bulldogs can maintain the momentum from the win over Pace against a talented Panther squad.
"I think they possess the ability to put the ball in the end zone on any play," he said. "They have big play speed.
"I think, to get it done, we have to go over there with our A game or we will come out with a loss. We can't turn the ball over."
Milton's offense will operate from the shotgun formation, Hatten said.
"They run the power (running play up the middle) with the tight end. They run the speed sweep, and what they do, they do really good. They aren't a whole lot different than Pace (in what they do on offense), but they do it in a different kind of way."
Hatten said he scouts the opposing defense more to see who plays where.
"I don't care what anybody else does," he said. "We will watch defenses and look at personnel and starting lineups, but people are going to look at us and probably play us a little differently than they would a power team.
"Now, Navarre (who Milton played in the Kickoff Classic) is a spread team, but they are a different spread team than we are."
Hatten isn't worried about taking his team to an always tough Milton.
"I tell people all the time I don't care if we play in the parking lot at Wal-Mart," he said. "Once the game starts, you are just playing against the team that is out there, so that doesn't bother me a lot."
What: High school football
Who: Crestview at Milton
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.