I spent a lot of time over the weekend trying to research relevant storylines related to the Crestview High School and Baker School football teams' big wins Friday night.
It’s hard to determine whether Friday’s simultaneous wins were the most significant for these programs. The passing of time can make tracking down old schedules difficult at best to somewhat impossible.
Baker and Crestview won district championships in the same year in 1981, 1982, 1985 and 1993. But after 20 years and more I can’t tell if the teams clinched any district titles on the same night.
There is no denying that Baker’s win over Northview was huge because it gave the Gators their first district championship since 2001. And some might argue that Crestview’s win over Niceville was even bigger, as the Bulldogs hadn’t beaten the Eagles in football since 1982.
I would say both teams would have a valid argument for the historical significance of their respective win.
Baker’s District 1-1A championship is the 16th in the program's history, but first in a dozen years. The Gator seniors were in kindergarten in the fall of 2001, when quarterback Vernon Jones led Baker's attack. The Gator’s sophomore quarterback, Jon Beck, was 3 years old and maybe didn’t know football existed.
Crestview’s win over Niceville snaps a streak that goes back 30 years, but those years weren’t consecutive, so it’s hard to tell how many straight games the Eagles had won in the series. There have been several years when the teams were in different districts or classifications and they didn’t play each other.
Even when considering the years the teams didn’t meet in the regular season, it stands to reason that Niceville won at least 15 or 20 straight games over Crestview. I can confirm that from 2007-2012, Niceville and Crestview played each other in the regular season and that the teams played each other in 2003 and 2004.
It is fun to speculate how the 2002 Bulldog team, which advanced to the Class 3A state championship game, would have stacked up against the Eagles that year. Niceville was the District 1-4A runner in 2002, and I have to believe that a game between Crestview and Niceville would have been a great battle that might have seen Crestview ending the streak.
The best chance the Bulldogs had of ending the streak was in 2010, when the Eagles won by a single point. A missed extra point by the Bulldogs prevented the game from going into overtime and a missed Crestview field goal late in the game allowed the Eagles to leave Jack Foster Stadium with a win.
I’ve been covering high school football in Okaloosa County for 13 years, and there is no doubt in my mind that Friday is the best night the two teams have shared.
For now, Crestview and Baker can celebrate milestone wins. The big wins that each team enjoyed last week are what make high school football the special game that it is.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.