I'm starting to get a familiar itch.
This is the time of year when high school softball and baseball seasons wind down. District softball tournaments are scheduled for April 14-18 and district baseball tournaments will be played April 21-25.
The softball region quarterfinals are April 24 and region semifinals will follow April 29. Baseball's region quarterfinals are scheduled for April 30 and the region semifinals are May 6.
A little baseball trivia here: May 6 also is the 83rd birthday of Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays.
Five days before Willie celebrates his big day, high school football teams across the state will open spring practice.
There is something special about spring football.
Any real Southern football fan will likely tell you their two favorite sports are football and spring football. Yes, this is the time of year when high school football fanatics of the mightiest Class 8A teams and the tiniest Class 1A teams glimpse what things might look like in the fall.
And while fans look forward to spring practice, it is even more highly anticipated by players and coaches.
Spring drills' start is a welcome relief for players who will finally get to see the field after a winter of lifting weights and conditioning. Spring ball is the first opportunity for young players to make their mark and for older players who struggled to reinvent themselves.
Spring football season also is when coaches start filling voids left by graduation, injuries and, in some cases, transfers. And there are times when coaches will set about to reinvent their team changing offensive or defensive schemes to best fit the players they have on the roster.
Locally, Baker and Crestview are coming off 2013 seasons that were filled with surprises and big moments.
In Matt Brunson's third season at the Baker program's helm he led the Gators to an undefeated regular season and the District 1-1A championship. Baker lost to Cottondale in the playoffs' first round, but the future looks bright for the Gators with Brunson calling the shots.
Crestview didn't win the District 1-7A championship or make the playoffs under first-year head coach Tim Hatten, but many Bulldog fans might say beating Niceville for the first time in 30 years is even bigger than winning a district championship.
With a win over the Eagles under their belts, the Bulldogs can now believe they have a realistic shot at winning the district.
In the next few weeks I'll be sitting down with Brunson and Hatten to discuss key personnel losses and how they plan to fill those voids. My plan is to basically see how all things football related shape up heading into the spring.
Yes, it's that time of year again when I'm feeling a familiar itch that can only be cured by a little football.
Spring practice starts in 29 days.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.