District 1 Preview: Gulf Breeze Looks To Repeat

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Last season it was Gulf Breeze running the table in the regular season and unfortunately getting a first round bye in the playoffs before running into Oak Hall in the Round of 16, bowing out to Oak Hall by a score of 12-7.  Surprising West Florida finished second in the regular season due to TWO OT wins over Pensacola Catholic, only to see PC reverse the result in OT in the district semifinal.

The future looks bright for the region but the geographical location will make it tough to schedule out of area games.  The schools will travel but distance is an issue.

Gulf Breeze became the first school in District 1 to finish in the Top 25 of the FLN Final Media Poll, coming in at #22.

Last season’s Regular Season records via MaxPreps (Note: possibility not all results were uploaded):

School Name *W-L *Pct. W-L Pct. GF GA
Gulf Breeze 14-0 1.000 20-1 0.952 319 99
West Florida 12-2 0.857 15-4 0.789 198 102
Pensacola Catholic 9-5 0.643 12-8 0.600 184 159
Booker T. Washington 7-7 0.500 9-8 0.529 123 118
Escambia 7-7 0.500 9-8 0.529 137 134
Seacoast Collegiate 3-11 0.214 5-12 0.294 103 168
South Walton 3-11 0.214 5-12 0.294 118 186
Pensacola 1-13 0.071 3-13 0.188 76 211
  • * Denotes district data.

Gulf Breeze High 20-1, lost in the FHSAA Round of 16

Head Coach Earle McCauley wrote in to us:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

This team has very high expectations. We want to continue to grow and build not just our program but the other programs in the panhandle as well. Wins and losses will take care of themselves. Our goal is to build young men of character and discipline and use the sport of lacrosse as our vehicle. We will commit to working for every minute of every game and try to turn that into on and off-field success—We have greatly expanded our schedule this year and hope that will further our development going forward.

Who are the returning players who will make a difference this season?

Senior Tucker Smith. He is a leading attack, and he brings both size and intelligence to the field. Tucker can score quickly from virtually anywhere. He is both tough and savvy. Last year Tucker scored 32 g and 12 a.

Junior TJ Caldwell. TJ is a middie and faceoff guy. He returns healthy this season and brings incredible athleticism to the game. 36g, 13a, 74% FO

Junior Eli Ryan. Eli returns as a captain and leader of the defense that last year only allowed 98 goals in 21 games.  He is 6’3, 210 pounds and is one of the best communicators in high school I have seen. He has a very high lacrosse IQ. 45 gbs, 28 caused turnovers.

Kincade Essex. Kincade just moved here from Texas and is looking to be a huge asset on the midfield. Kincade is fast and very fundamentally sound. He works very hard and will make an immediate impact for us this season.

Senior Patrick Smith. Patrick is a senior middie who brings experience and discipline to the field. He is a cerebral player and is almost never out of position. He can make mistakes look like plans. He is fast and will never be outworked. He can be beat, but you have to work to do it. 16g, 12a, 74 gb

Senior Keegan Simmons. Keegan is another prototypical defenseman. He is big. 6’4 205, fast 6:20 mile and strong, 230 bench. He is also very intelligent and has a good lacrosse IQ.

Senior Garrison Story. Garrison is a goalie, and he just moved here. Garrison brings experience and dedication to the net. Last year in an injury shortened season he had 77 saves and a .693 save percentage.

What players do you expect to step up this year that didn’t get much playing time last year?

Joe Snider. Joe is a sophomore middie who played varsity last season. His work ethic and attitude are top notch. He brings athleticism and heart to the game. Joe can face, he can score, and he can also play D. He worked really hard in the summer and fall to improve his game and that work will pay off for him and The Dolphins this season.

Ashton Marcum. Ashton is another sophomore who played varsity last year. Ashton is an attack who is also greatly working on his game. He is crafty and able to catch, feed and shoot in traffic. He has the knack for escaping a slide and finding his teammates. 7g and 12a as a freshman.

Michael Sawrynski. Michael is a sophomore who came up from the JV last season. Michael played every minute of the regional semifinal game against Oak Hall due to an injury and did a great job. He is a defensive middie and we hope he can get some scoring opportunities as well this season.

Nathan Mackey. Nathan is a sophomore middie who has been working very hard in the summer and fall. He is going to be expected to be a two-way player as well as faceoff.

What are the games you are really looking forward to this season?

We have an awesome schedule this year. Every game is important, and no game is diminished; however, we have built in some travel this year. We are playing PV, Providence, IMG and Sickles along with most of the Tallahassee schools. Conference wise, Catholic and West Florida will both be very strong this year and Escambia fought their way into the district tournament last year and are looking to improve.

It is exciting to see the sport growing and the play getting better in the Panhandle.

West Florida 15-4, lost in the district semifinals

Unfortunately West Florida has not sent in their questionnaire yet, we will add it when it comes in.

Pensacola Catholic 12-8 , lost in the district final

Unfortunately, Pensacola Catholic has not sent in their questionnaire yet, we will add it when it comes in.

Escambia 9-8, lost in the district semifinals

Unfortunately, Escambia has not sent in their questionnaire yet, we will add it when it comes in.

Booker T Washington 9-8, missed the district playoffs

New Head Coach James Brock has sent in his thoughts on the upcoming season and what he wants to accomplish at the school:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

Taking over as the new Head Coach my expectations are high as we are changing the culture here at Washington Lax program. I have came with a new coaching staff with discipline, fundamentals, and hard work.

Who are the returning players who will make a difference this season?

Mason Brock at the attack position he is a returning senior this year, he is big bodied and has a hell of a shot along with a High IQ for the game, He is being recruited from Multiple Schools from D-1 to NAIA, He has narrowed down to 2 schools Huntingdon and LaGrange College

What players do you expect to step up this year that didn’t get much playing time last year?

Chaz Lee at the Mid-Field position he is a returning Junior who started Varsity last year. He has had an awesome off season conditioning program he came in strong and fast this year and improved his game tremendously.

What are the games you are really looking forward to this season?

The main games I’m looking forward to this year is West Florida Tech and Gulf Breeze to see where our program stacks up against them. I believe with our new coaching staff and things we have implemented in the off season conditioning and with the New defensive Coach I believe we will be a force to be reckoned with.

Seacoast Collegiate 5-12, missed district playoff

AD Andrew Ward wrote in with this:

What are your expectations this season for the team?

We have two new coaches with our program. Coach Schmidt and Coach Talley look to build on some success the team had last season.

Who are the returning players who will make a difference this season?

Midfielder Tyson Rogers (54 goals and 11 assts), Midfielder Keagan Mears (19 goals and 1 assts.), and Defenseman Josh Bell all return for the Swordfish.

What players do you expect to step up this year that didn’t get much playing time last year?

A returning starter that will look to make an impact is Mac Williams. Tough kid who has put in a lot of work in the offseason.

What are the games you are really looking forward to this season?

All district play. We excited to see how we match up against the teams in the Panhandle.

Milton High – New Varsity Program

Head Coach David Hanley wrote in about his 2nd year program, new to the Varsity level!

What are your expectations this season for the team?

We are a very new program (2nd year), so our expectations may be different from the more established teams. Our main goal is to continue the growth and love of lacrosse in Milton, increase the boys stick skills, game IQ, and provide a place of learning, camaraderie and community.

Who are the returning players who will make a difference this season?

At this stage in our program each player makes a difference no matter where they are on the lacrosse continuum. At this time we have a number of boys who have played over the summer and fall in club ball. I’m very impressed with their dedication and they have improved their overall knowledge of the game and continue to work very hard during practice and away from practice

What players do you expect to step up this year that didn’t get much playing time last year?

I believe our 5 Captains (and Seniors) have really taken the lead in stepping-up and are instituting a positive and encouraging culture among our younger players. They are: Austin Hero (G), Mathew Hudson (D), Wyatt Moore (LSM/D), Connor Schlenker (D), Jack Whiteman (M).

What are the games you are really looking forward to this season?

All of them. I’ve seen our boys play very good lacrosse against much more well established teams, but the consistency has not been there in the past. We’ll need to work extremely hard and smart every game.

South Walton 5-12, missed district playoff

Unfortunately, South Walton has not sent in their questionnaire yet, we will add it when it comes in.

Pensacola 3-13, missed district playoff

Unfortunately, Pensacola has not sent in their questionnaire yet, we will add it when it comes in.