SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: Bold predictions for the new year

Published: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 03:00 PM.

The Baker volleyball team's string of 11 consecutive district championships will come to an end. The Gators, the past few years, have lost too many irreplaceable players to graduation.

Laurel Hill's volleyball team will win the District 1-1A title again and Crestview's volleyball team will return to the playoffs.

As far as my football predictions go, anything can happen between Jan. 1 and the start of the season.

I expect big things from Crestview's football team in the fall. The Bulldogs got the Niceville monkey off their back last fall by beating the Eagles for the first time in more than three decades. I see Crestview returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2010 this fall.

Bulldog Emmanuel Reed might be the best returning running back in the county. Crestview has experience at quarterback in Cory Armstrong. And, all of the Bulldogs have been in Tim Hatten's system.

Up the road at Baker, I don't see a let-down from the Gators as they come off their first district title since 2001. Baker and Northview will again be the teams to beat in a competitive District 1-1A.

Junior quarterback Jon Beck will lead a Baker offense that just might feature the pass a little more than it has in the past. Don't expect to see a drop in the Gator running game, as Montae Barto could have a breakout junior year.

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