On Monday, MaxPreps released their preseason top 100 high school football rankings, and Pine Forest saw itself make the list.
After a 2021 season in which the Eagles went 12-2, falling 35-29 in the Class 6A state championship to Tampa Jesuit, MaxPreps has placed them at No. 88 in the nation coming into the 2022 season.
Despite losing some power on their elite defensive front, MaxPreps highlighted the returns of wide receiver Donielle Hayes, quarterback Tierra Wilson, defensive lineman Elijah Douglas, running backs Kobe Johnson and Miequle Brock Jr. and offensive lineman Jonathan Daniels.
It is the only Panhandle team to see its name on the list. It joins 15 other Florida schools in the top 100, tied with Texas for the most ranked teams entering the fall campaign.
With a primarily local schedule this season, the Eagles open their new year with a Thursday-night tilt on August 25 versus Tate.
Milton softball hires Tomey
Following just one season at the helm of the Panthers softball team, head coach Kirstyn Joiner has moved on, and the school has identified Sean Tomey as her replacement.
Tomey comes over from Navarre High School, where he has been the Raiders’ flag football head coach since their inception in 2019. Prior to that, he was the head softball coach at Gulf Breeze High School for 12 seasons.
He has also worked at Milton during his career in education, and is excited to return to an area where he continues to hold numerous relationships.
"Softball has always been the game I loved to coach the most," Tomey said. "I still have that love and desire to coach it again and when this opportunity came up, I jumped at it … I still have a lot of friends and good memories of that community … I was blessed to have the opportunity to get the chance to lead this team."
He'll inherit an up-and-coming program that went 12-9 this past season, landing two PNJ All-Area players in Audrey Luedtke and Hallie Ueberroth, both of whom will return next season.
"I want to help instill the love of softball," Tomey said. "If they love softball and it's important to them, great things can happen."
Navarre softball upgrades Koch
Since 2017, Kelly Hayes has been the Raiders skipper but in 2023, it'll be her assistant of five years, Will Koch.
With Hayes due to have her first baby this summer, she decided to focus on her time at home rather than trying a balancing act. Insert Koch, whose familiarity with the program will keep things on track.
After a slower than usual start this past season, the Raiders sprinted through the finish line, winning 10 of their last 13 games.
While they'll lose First Team All-PNJ talent Caitlin Tilton to graduation, they'll be in good hands for years to come as they return Second Team honorees Renee Hester and Kayden Riddle.
Koby Howard injured at camp
The Pensacola Catholic star wide receiver has had arguably the biggest spring and summer of any athlete in the area, picking up offers from major Division I programs like Texas A&M, Penn State, Tennessee, LSU and most recently, Miami.
When down in Coral Gables for a camp, Howard went down with an injury. It was discovered that he had broken his tibia, sidelining him for at least three months.
In jeopardy of missing his sophomore season, which was expected to be a large breakout, Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal had a surprise for the budding wideout.
He visited Howard in the hospital, extending him a scholarship offer in bringing his total to 20. Regardless of the injury, this validates his value to college programs across the nation.
Lucas Semb can be reached at Lsemb@pensacol.gannett.com or 850-281-7414. Follow him on Twitter at @Lucas_Semb for stories and various Pensacola area score updates.
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Pine Forest football receives national ranking from MaxPreps