Pace High School has built a tradition of football under the leadership of head coach Mickey Lindsey and that was never more evident than last season.
Now the Patriots made the playoffs, but it was how they made the playoffs.
After starting 0-3, Pace turned it around and finished the season by going 5-2 as they won the Distirct 1-6A crown, but the victory didn’t come easy to a program use to winning.
“Last season I had to go back and think about the 1997 season,” Lindsey recalled. “That year we started out 0-3 and I had to reflect back and remember what I did to help turn things around.”
This year the Patriots don’t want to get out to such a slow start, but their schedule doesn’t allow much room for mistakes.
The first three games of the year are Choctaw, who eliminated Pace from the playoffs, Niceville, a traditional rival, and Navarre, a team that has given the Patriots its fair share of troubles.
If that isn’t bad enough, Pace will enter the tough District 1-6A schedule the fourth week against Washington, who is led by coach Charlie Ward, a former Florida State quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner.
“We have got to be who we are,” Lindsey said. “In our last two losses we turned the ball over six times and we are not going to win making mistakes like that.
“We have to run the ball, play defense, do well on special teams, and take care of the football.”
Lindsey knows the district is going to be a hard road, but he believes he has some players who will make that road just as difficult for those opposing Pace.
At the top of that list is senior Quaide Weimerskirch who rushed for 2,308 yards and 27 touchdowns, which was around 60 percent of the Patriots offense.
“Quaide is a great player with a great attitude,” Lindsey said. “He has all the intangibles you want in a player and that makes him a special kid.
“He has the ability and wants the ball, but more importantly he wants what is best for the team.”
While Lindsey’s teams are known for running the ball, quarterback could be a pivotal position at Pace as Dylan Hart will take over as the Patriots signal caller.
“Dylan sat out last year, but he is getting better each week,” Lindsey said. “We need to do more with our passing game, but usually passing take a little more time and is the last thing to come around in our game.”
Defensively the Patriots have always been known for line play and that will be a test for former Patriot now assistant coach Jeremy Drew.
Drew is being joined by fellow Patriots Jerad Dampson, and Jack Brunson on the Pace coaching staff.
“They have put the time in and know what it takes,” Lindsey said. “They have invested themselves as a player and have a lot of pride in the program from that investment.”
2014 Pace High School Varsity Schedule
Date Opponent Time
Aug. 29 CHOCTAW 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 5 at Niceville 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 NAVARRE 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 19 at Washington** 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 26 MADISON COUNTY 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 3 PINE FOREST** 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 10 at Fort Walton Beach 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 17 PENSACOLA** 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Escambia** 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 31 at Milton** 7:30 p.m.
** Denotes District Games
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