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Check out Niceville football's 2023 opponents.

Niceville Football released its 2023 football schedule, and it contains a doozy of a mid-season campaign that will test the endurance of the Eagles as they work to win their first state championship since 1988.

Niceville’s head coach, Grant Thompson (42-6), will begin his fifth season at the Eagle’s Nest with a rogue’s gallery of teams to defeat if the Eagles want to continue their postseason streak into a third decade.

I’ve put a threat-mometer score (out of 10) for each team the Eagles play this year. Go down to the comments section to tell me where I’m wrong! (tell me why, too).

A * indicates a district game.

All games are at 7:00 PM.

a crowd watching a football game.
Niceville High School fans enjoy a November night game at the Eagle's Nest.

Game 1: V. North Miami Beach Chargers (8/25)

The North Miami Beach Chargers are on their second road trip to Niceville in two years. The scrappy team drew first blood in their game against Niceville last year, the season opener, when the Chargers scored on a broken play to take a quick 6-0 lead.

They probably should have prayed for a hurricane because it was all Niceville after that. The Eagles would win the game 42-6 and start North Miami Beach on a lackluster, playoff-missing 4-6 season.

The Chargers are back for more this year, though they are not the appetizer, I mean opening game, for the Eagles.

Expect this team, one and five off the road last year, to drop another in Niceville this year.

Threat-🌡️: 1️⃣/🔟

After a 42-6 shellacking last year and plenty of Eagles returning for another go at the Chargers – I don’t see this ending differently for North Miami Beach. 

Game 2: V. Milton Panthers (9/1)

The Milton Panthers will east on Interstate 10 to Niceville for the Eagles’ third season contest. The Panthers, who posted a 3-7 mark last year, hope to see some of their younger, inexperienced talent make a go of it in their matchup against the Eagles.

Milton will feature Rayvon Cottrell, the little brother of the team’s best receiver last year, Raymond Cottrell. The younger Cottrell will have to increase his output by an order of magnitude to give the Eagles a challenge. Last year he had six catches for 82 yards. Harrison Stewart is the likely starter under center for the Panthers.

Threat-🌡️: 2️⃣/🔟​

I’d love to tell you that the Panthers are a threat that needs to be respected. Every team should be respected – but the Panthers’ last couple of seasons offer a story of a narrative that has been beaten enough to accept a place in the middle of the pack. Milton, prove me wrong.

Game 3: V. Lincoln (Tallahassee) Trojans (9/7)

The Lincoln Trojans were a last-minute add to the program for this year. The Eagles will play the team, which finished 5-6 last year  with a playoff exit in the first round to the venerable Columbia Tigers out of Lake City. 

Niceville announced the schedule change – which removed Bay High School and replaced them with the Trojans on Monday, July 10th. 

Joseph Clay, a rising Junior, will start under center for the Trojans. Clay got some playing time as a quarterback last year for the Trojans – completing 18 of his 35 passing attempts throughout the year. He did not have any touchdowns of interceptions, though. Jashawn Washington looks to be the man to get the most carries out of the backfield this year. In a running back corps that featured five seniors in 2022, Washington was able to get 300 rushing yards – no mean feat. Five offensive linemen from last year’s team who saw the field last year return to protect the backfield – meaning additional passing time and precious moments for plays to develop. 

Threat-🌡️: 6️⃣/🔟

Niceville scheduled this game at home, which will be very good news for the Eagles hopes of making 2023 an undefeated regular season. 

Game 4: @ Chiles (Tallahassee) Timberwolves* (9/22)

As the summer weather starts to subside, the Eagles’ schedule begins to intensify. Chiles High School in Tallahassee may have been the best 5-5 team in the state last year and returns plenty of talent on both sides of the ball.

Last year, Chiles beat Mosley High School (a later Niceville Opponent) and nearly defeated the Eagles in a 28-25 game in Tallahassee.

On offense, this formidable team will start rising Junior Jaylin Jones in the backfield for the Timberwolves. Jones had 672 yards and three 100+ yard games last year, which came with a total of nine touchdowns. Not bad for the second-string tailback on the team. All five of their losses last year were by six points or less. They easily could have been an 8-2 or even 10-0 team; things just didn’t go their way.

At quarterback, the T-wolves will start like Senior Jack Neely. The rising senior has some playing time under his belt and will become a sharper player as the teams hit their mid-season form. It’ll help that four offensive linemen with snaps in all ten games last year will return to protect him.

On the defensive side of the ball, Chase Harllee returns for his senior campaign after making a name for himself last year. Harllee had 89 tackles last year, the most of any player on any team who the Eagles will play against this year. Harllee will have plenty of support on defense: four of the five top tacklers on last year’s team are back in the trenches this year.

It’s best that the Eagles caught this game earlier in the season – the Timberwolves could play spoiler for many teams in October as they develop.

Chiles Linebacker Chase Harllee
Chiles Quarterback Jack Neely

Threat-🌡️: 🔟/🔟

Niceville will have to go to Tallahassee this year and faces some formidable returners on offense. For this reason, I think this is the most dangerous game of the year for the Eagles. Sure, Crestview is the better team – but everyone in Niceville wants to avenge the playoff loss. They are target locked on the Bulldogs. This game against the Timberwolves is an absolute trap game.

Game 5: V. Choctawhatchee High School Indians (9/22)

No one, save Taylor Mortonthought much of the Big Green Indian last year. Boy, were they wrong? Choctaw had a slow start, but once they got going, they ran over nearly every team in the Florida Panhandle that got in their way. They ended their season with a 7-6 record… and a three-game run in the FHSAA Football playoffs. 

Head Coach Frank Beasley hopes to do it all over again – maybe with more wins in the regular season this year, too. Though, sneaking into the playoffs and winning the whole thing would probably work, too. 

Niceville was able to beat Choctaw in Ocean City last year, 23-13. To avoid a similar fate this year, the Indians will need to rely on Quarterback Jesse Winslette, who’s going to have his second year as the field general as a senior, and Cole Tabb, who ran for 24 touchdowns last year. Tabb also caught two balls for six points last year. 

On defense, the Big Green Indian will welcome back Jashawn Armstrong (6.5 tackles per game) and Jonathan Boyd (4.7 tackles per game).  

Threat-🌡️: 7️⃣/🔟

Choctaw proved they are not to be misunderestimated 😉 after last season. Many of those kids who played critical roles on the team are back again and ready to make their mark with a better regular season record and a deeper playoff run. Niceville needs to watch out for these guys – but they already know that.

Game 6: Crestview High School Bulldogs* (9/29)

The Bulldogs lost at home to the Eagles in Crestview during the regular season, then used that loss like rocket fuel to propel them past Niceville at the Eagle’s Nest in the playoffs 26-21. The efforts of guys like Lazarius Parks made the team’s 7-5 record a possibility. Parks, who also plays Basketball for the Bulldogs, had 35 carries for 188 yards last year and tallied more than 500 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

On defense, Jordan Appleby held it down with 6.2 tackles per game. Only one player from last year’s team with any sacks, Maddox Reeves (2), returns to the Bulldog D.

Threat-🌡️: 6️⃣/🔟

It’s Crestview, man. If they were playing a bunch of sixth graders from Crestview – the Bulldogs would figure out how to make it a game against Niceville. CHS has consistently moved closer to Niceville in terms of talent and winning tradition, though they still do not have a state title in their trophy case. The Bulldogs (and the Eagles) will show up to play.

@cecil.perdue Niceville what happened??????😂😂😂 #fnl ♬ original sound - Cecil

Some free bulletin board material for the Eagles.

Game 7: Pine Forest High School (Pensacola) Eagles (10/6)

Pine Forest High School is just a couple of years and a couple of points away from winning a state championship. In 2021, the Eagles narrowly lost to Tampa Jesuit in the state-final game. Juniors and Seniors on this year’s team were on the sidelines for that tough loss – and earned a 10-1 record last year. These Eagles lost to Choctaw in the playoffs last year but look to ascend to the mountaintop of Florida High School Football once again.

Last year, the Eagles (Pine Forest) beat the Eagles (Niceville) 28-7 in Pensacola. Now, the Eagles (Pine Forest) will need to beat the Eagles (Niceville) on John Sims Parkway.

Pine Forest must replace star quarterback Tierra Wilson, who graduated last year. Wilson threw for more than 1,600 yards, 16 touchdowns, and just five interceptions. He added another 14 touchdowns on the ground – another state where he led the team. Expect Miquele Brock, the team’s starting tailback this year, to replace much of that on-the-ground output for the Eagles. He had 81 carries for 890 yards and five 100+ yard games.

Graduation claimed most of the receiver corps from last season. The man with the most catches still on the roster for this season is Deveon Wilson. Wilson had a total of 184 yards last season.

Threat-🌡️: 7️⃣/🔟

Pine Forest is a known quantity at this point. They are good, their coaches build up replacements for their positions every year, and they don’t have a problem coming to someone else’s home and knocking them square in the jaw. This year probably won’t be any different. If the (Niceville) Eagles make it past Pine Forest without losing a game and not getting too banged up – they stand an excellent chance of ending the season undefeated. Weeks 4-7 are going to test what NHS is made of.

Game 8: Leon High School (Tallahassee) Lions*

The Leon Lions have had a rough go the last couple of years. In 2022, they ended up at 1-9 on the year. Niceville routed them in a 49-20 game. But the team was relatively young and had a couple of players who’ve had multiple years starting – not something you typically see at this level of high school football. While the Lions won’t be contending for the state championship any time soon, according to their outputs over the last couple of years, they do stand a solid chance at a .500 season this year.

a quarterback going through his throwing motion.
Kemp Peoples, Leon High School Quarterback

Threat-🌡️: 2️⃣/🔟

Again, I’m not expecting the Lions to put Niceville, or any other playoff contenders, in real danger. Never say never; it’s high school football, which means anything can happen.

Game 9: Mosley High School (Panama City) Dolphins* (10/27)

Mosley in Lynn Haven could challenge Chiles for last year’s best 5-5 football team in the state. The Dolphins lost to Niceville by seven, Navarre by three, and Chiles by seven. They even put a smarting on Crestview, beating them by twelve.

What’s more, the Dolphins quarterback Sammy Freitas, a rising Junior, passed for more than 2,000 yards and secured 22 touchdowns through the air with just eight interceptions. He added another four touchdowns on the ground as well.

On the Defensive side of the ball, Readyn Bruens, a Junior, will provide tackling prowess and a team-leading eight sacks from last year to ensure Defenses respect the pass rush.

a football player posing for a photo
Sammy Freitas Mosley Quarterback

Threat-🌡️: 8️⃣/🔟

Mosley is not a game. They are a real threat to the Eagles and could play spoiler to their playoff hopes if they come through September banged up by Chiles, Pine Forest, Crestview, and Choctaw.

Game 10: V. Navarre Raiders (10/27)

Ah, Navarre. The Raiders are always Niceville’s last game of the season. Why is that?

Anyway, the Raiders posted a decisive 8-3 showing last year. They defeated Mosley, Pace, and their rivals Gulf Breeze while taking losses to Niceville (35-14) and Pine Forest (39-9).

Hunter Pfeister, a rising senior, will more than likely serve as the starting quarterback for the Raiders this year. Last year, he threw for 1753 yards, 19 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. The key to the Navarre offense will be the continued exploitation of the solid passing and rushing fronts. Eddie Love, Jr., another rising senior, will provide a rushing attack at tailback for the Raiders. Love had 1,244 rushing yards last year and six 100+ yard games. Terence Marshall will act as Pfeister’s target man – he proved he’s capable with a good showing last year that included five touchdown receptions.

The Raiders defense ain’t a pushover, either. Navarre will return three key players, Cooper Black, Joshua Wilson, and Andre Spence. The trio combined for almost 20 tackles per game last year.

football running back running down the field.
Navarre running back Eddie Love, Jr.

Threat-🌡️: 8️⃣/🔟

Navarre is always a gotcha game, especially at the end of the year. The Eagles will take them lightly (not that there’s a chance of that happening) at their peril. With so many offensive weapons returning for the Raiders – there is a high probability that Niceville and Navarre will face off more than once this season.

One Response

  1. I am really surprised to see Niceville Football’s most dangerous opponent this year. They are really powerful. and it will be more fun when i will see fight among them. Thank you for this in-depth findings

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