A lot has happened in the four years since Baker School head football Coach Matt Brunson moved from the same job at Crestview High School to his alma mater. The Gators have enjoyed four straight winning seasons and back-to-back district championships. Baker also is riding a 20-game regular-season winning streak heading into Friday nightís regular-season finale with South Walton.


A lot has happened in the four years since Baker School head football Coach Matt Brunson moved from the same job at Crestview High School to his alma mater.



The Gators have enjoyed four straight winning seasons and back-to-back district championships. Baker also is riding a 20-game regular-season winning streak heading into Friday nightís regular-season finale with South Walton.



Brunson has proven to be the right man for the job at Baker. I think that if anyone can take the Gators to their fifth state championship, itís him.



Things havenít gone so well at Crestview since Brunson answered the call to make the 11-mile trip home.



The Bulldogs have had two coaches, three losing seasons and have not made the playoffs. Last yearís 5-5 campaign was the best season Crestview has had since Brunson took the Bulldogs to the playoffs in 2010.



On the surface, things arenít sunshine and rainbows for Crestview's program. But I believe that Bulldog Coach Tim Hatten will turn things around in the next year or two. Fans just need to be patient and let him do a job heís plenty qualified to do.



STAYING OPTIMISTIC



Hatten won at the high school level at Haines City. He won at the junior college level in Mississippi when he coached Pearl River Community College to a national championship.



Will Hatten win a state championship at Crestview? I donít think anybody knows the answer to that question, but there are reasons for Bulldog fans to be optimistic about the program's future.



Crestview's freshman and junior varsity teams lost just three games between them. Middle school football in Crestview is riding high with Davidson and Shoal River playing for the Okaloosa County championship Thursday night.



The current Panthers and Mustangs could be part of a foundation that will have Crestview High School's football team in the mix for years to come.



 



UNPREDICTABLE FUTURE



 



Of course, nobody knows how well a player will do as they step up in competition. Some athletes continue to get bigger, stronger and faster. The tailback that was the middle school star often becomes the star on the high school team.



There are cases where kids who grow early stop growing. The dominating lineman in the seventh or eighth grade becomes just another player at the high school level.



Players get hurt and are forced to give up the game. And there are times when a 15- or 16-year-old decides football, or some other sport, is no longer fun. And there are parents and athletes who think they see greener pastures at some other school and transfer.



Matt Brunson is building something special at Baker. Given time, I think Tim Hatten also can build something special at Crestview.



I hope fans of both teams will support their coaches and players, wherever they are in the building process.



Email News Bulletin Sports Editor Randy Dickson, follow him on Twitter or call 850-682-6524.