Pregame Festivities Highlight Niceville's Stars

A comfortable breeze hung in the air as former and current Eagles gathered together to celebrate the legacy of Niceville High School during the homecoming football game.

The festivities began at 6 PM with the homecoming parade, which started with the Principal and homecoming court smiling from the back of convertible sports cars in a short loop around the stadium track.

Representatives from many of NHS’s student-organized clubs participated in the parade around the track, dawning handmade banners that took countless hours of effort outside of school to complete.

Cheerleaders and Eaglettes rode on the top of firetrucks, serving as the perfect conclusion to a parade celebrating the deep-rooted school spirit of Niceville High School. Following the parade was a beautiful performance by Niceville’s two-time state champion dance team, the Eaglettes. The pregame festivities concluded with the singing of the national anthem by the talented voices of Niceville High School’s prestigious Opus One choir, composed of 18 members, all selected to be a part of the all-state choir.

Niceville Cheerleaders amp up the crowd during a 62-7 shellacking which saw more than half of Niceville's points put up in the first quarter alone. 📸: McKinsey Lamm

Eagles Rout Lions in First Quarter

The Eagles rounded out homecoming with a score-a-palooza on the gridiron. Two minutes into the first quarter, Niceville’s Jordan Bryant scored the first touchdown, followed by a successful point after kick by Logan Marise. 

Minutes later, Niceville’s quarterback, Kane LaFortune, completed a 28-yard pass to Caden Bridgeman for a touchdown. On the game’s next play, the ball was turned over to the Eagles in a fumble recovery, resulting in a touchdown for Landon Isbell. Niceville’s Caden Bridgeman scored his second touchdown of the game, and the 4th for the Eagles, after completing a 44-yard pass by quarterback Kane LaFortune. 

 

football players in maroon jerseys.
Niceville Eagles Player Tim Smith (#12) celebrates another dominant performance at home against the Leon Lions. 📸: McKinsey Lamm

With just a few seconds remaining in the first quarter of the game, Niceville’s Evan Root had a pick-six, leaving the Eagles with a monstrous 34-0 lead as the referee’s whistle sounded to end the first quarter. 

Due to the massive score gap, the rest of the game was played on a running clock. Only three minutes into the second quarter, the Eagles’ Maddax Fayard scored again. 

A few minutes later, Niceville earned yet another touchdown. The six points were posted to the scoreboard, courtesy of Landon Isbell. 

The first half of the game was wrapped up with Niceville High’s Tim Smith scoring the 8th touchdown for the Eagles, leaving the home team with a comfortable lead of 55-0 as they made their way to the locker room for halftime. 

Halftime Highlights: Homecoming King and Queen Crowned for Niceville High School

The halftime performance looked very different from that of previous games. The band played softly as pairs of homecoming court members, dressed in suits and sparkling gowns, slowly made their way across the 50-yard line while an announcer read off each representative’s impressive resume. Once each pair had made their way to the home side of the field, Gavin Beauchamp and Haley Stillings were crowned the 2023 Homecoming King and Queen. 

Gavin is a member of the Boy’s Varsity Soccer team and National Honor Society, is ranked in the top 10% of his graduating class, an intern at Sacred Heart Hospital, actively volunteers in the community, and is a member of Niceville High School’s branch of NaGISA,which is a program that conducts an ongoing international study of the world’s coastlines. 

 

a football player on the sideline at a Niceville High School Football Game
Niceville Senior Cameron Wallace stands on the sideline and speaks to another player. Cameron scored his first touchdown of the year on Friday night - capping a journey of selflessness to make the team better all year. 📸: McKinsey Lamm

Haley is the captain of Niceville High School’s state and national champion cheerleading team, a member of the National Honor Society and Key Club, involved in countless community service projects throughout the community, is ranked in the top 15% of her graduating class, and is the recipient of multiple awards for her outstanding academic performance, athletic abilities, and always positive attitude. 

Once the band and homecoming court exited the field, the second half of the game got underway. Though no additional points were added to the scoreboard during the third quarter, the student section and drumline created a dreamy explosion of silly string and colored chalk powder during the third quarter tradition. 

“The touchdown came easy, it was all of the work and effort put in up to this point– it took a lot.”

The Fourth Quarter

The final quarter of the game saw a 4-yard rushing touchdown by Niceville’s Cameron Wallace, a first for the senior player, who also served as one of the captains for the homecoming game. When asked about his touchdown, Cam said, “The touchdown came easy, it was all of the work and effort put in up to this point– it took a lot.”, reflecting Cameron’s dedication to the program and willingness to put in extra work to benefit the team as a whole. The game was wrapped up with Leon’s first touchdown of the night, leaving the game’s final score at 62-7. 

The backbone of Niceville High School, Principal Charlie Marello, reflected on the big win for the Eagles saying, “[Leon’s] record was 5-2 so we weren’t really sure what to expect…but we came out firing on all cylinders and they really didn’t have a chance after the first quarter, so, I’m really proud of our guys”. An alumni of Niceville High School, Mr. Marello noted “Principal of Niceville High School has been my dream job for a long time. It has its challenges, but the good and the great far outweigh any difficulties we may have. We have great kids, a great staff, a great community, so I am very blessed”. 

Tonight, the Eagles will dress up for the homecoming dance as they continue the celebration of school pride and community. Next week, the Niceville football team will travel to Mosley High School on October 26th for a Thursday night faceoff against the Dolphins.

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