PANAMA CITY — When it comes to wins and losses from the 2012 football season, Bay would prefer its record be 17 and 0.
That represents how many seniors played for the Tornadoes in the fall. It also is the same number that have the opportunity to attend college.
That much was reinforced Wednesday morning as 13 Tornadoes signed scholarships to play college football. The other four seniors from Bay’s 3-7 team have qualified academically to attend schools of their choice. (Click here for photos from area signings)
And the group signing tenders was enhanced by 2012 graduate Preston Brown, who inked a baseball scholarship.
“This is a day for the kids, a day for their families,” Bay head football coach Jimmy Longerbeam said. “Really, it’s the culmination of 12 years” in the education system.
The 13 football players won’t be seen on television anytime soon. There were not any Division I signees, rather the institutions they will attend ranging from a prep school, to junior colleges, NAIA member, Division II and another, Southeastern University in Lakeland that is only now starting its football program.
What they embody most is opportunity, and Bay Principal Billy May noted the signees will represent Bay High School across the country as far west as California and as far north as Minnesota.
“Most of these kids are really good students,” Longerbeam said. “We talk to the kids and try and match up their interests. We feel like there is a place for everybody who doesn’t mind leaving their comfort zone.
“Just seeing the elation on the faces of the parents and the fact these kids are grateful for an opportunity.”
Tenders were signed with eight different colleges on Wednesday morning in the school library. Longerbeam said that represented much more than an elevated phone bill for the past two months.
“These kids have been to places, just about all of them made visits” to their respective schools, Longerbeam said. “Hopefully this will bode well for our program, and the younger kids will see the opportunities out there for them.”
The players and their destinations:
- Atlanta Sports Academy (prep school), Atlanta — Michael Everett, Nigel Hill, Martez Mason.
- YUBA College, Maryville, Calif. — Steven Battle, Jordan Gipson, Dushawn Green, Devian Taylor.
- Northland College, Theif River Falls, Minn. — Preston Brown, baseball.
- North Carolina Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, N.C. — Kyle Melquist.
- Edward Waters College, Jacksonville — Telvion Malone-Boyd.
- Faulkner University, Montgomery, Ala. — Dustyn Howard.
- Southeastern University, Lakeland — Dance Estes, Darreyen Sims.
- Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte, N.C. — Tyron Lewis.
- Academic scholarships — John Brown, Troy University; Mathew Canada, Florida A&M; Austin Haddock, Troy University; John Sherman, U.S. Naval Academy.