SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: The wait for football is over

Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at 08:26 PM.

The high school football season unofficially arrives Friday with the Kickoff Classics. Baker travels to Jay for the Preseason War of Highway 4; Crestview will be at Pace to face the Patriots.

This will be my 13th consecutive season covering Northwest Florida high school football. I also spent a year covering it as a freelancer in the fall of 1985. Escambia High School had a good junior running back on that team some local athletes can brag about playing.

Everyone who follows football knows about Emmitt Smith, the all-time rushing leader in National Football League history.

After that 1985 season it was another 16 years before I covered a high school football game in Northwest Florida. By that time, I was in the business full time working for the Northwest Florida Daily News.

I covered Jeff Webb's last season coaching the Baker Gators and Matt Brunson's first year coaching the Crestview Bulldogs.

Jacob Cosson was the Crestview quarterback and Vernon Jones was the do-it-all star under center for the Gators. Jones might just be the best all-around athlete I've seen in my 12 seasons in Okaloosa County.

As good as Jones was in each sport, the toughest player I've seen is former Bulldog running back Adam Phillips.

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