Mosley opened its season with a road trip to face one of the best teams in the Panhandle.
Week 3 will see the Dolphins make another trek to take on one of the top squads in the area, though they hope the drive home is more enjoyable this time.
After splitting the first two games against Niceville and Bay, Mosley (1-1) next heads to Crawfordville on Friday to play Wakulla (2-0), ranked No. 8 in the state in Class 5A.
It’s the last non-district game for the Dolphins before a run of six consecutive District 1-6A games, and it’s no accident that slot was filled by a team of the War Eagles’ caliber.
"I think the whole reason of going to a Niceville or Wakulla is that you’re trying to get yourself ready for district play," Mosley coach Jeremy Brown said. "Wakulla is a good program. They’re in the playoffs just about every year and we’re playing them on the road, so it’s a whole other dynamic.
"It’s important for the kids to learn how to travel and play on the road and handle adversity, all the stuff you have to do in the big picture games. We’re excited for the challenge."
It’s the first matchup between the teams since 2012, the year before Brown was hired, with Wakulla winning that contest 44-10 in Crawfordville.
A then-freshman and future Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks threw his first career high school touchdown pass in that game.
The War Eagles bring another talented signal-caller into this game in senior Jaylon Worsham, though he is much different from Franks in both stature (5-foot-10 vs. 6-foot-6) and style.
"(Worsham) is very dynamic. He’s the most athletic quarterback we’ve played this year and might be one of the top two or three most athletic we’ve played since I’ve been at Mosley," Brown said, comparing him favorably to former Auburn wide receiver Ryan Davis, who the Dolphins faced as a quarterback for Lakewood in 2014.
"He’s that type of athlete, very elusive, and he can throw it well, too."
Worsham has passed for 335 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 256 yards and four more TDs in a pair of easy wins over Eufala (Ala.) and Florida A&M.
He presents a unique test for the Dolphins’ defense, though that unit has looked the part of an elite group thus far after pitching a shutout of Bay last week and keeping Niceville in check in the 15-0 loss in the opener.
"Those guys are playing at an extremely high level," Brown said of his defense. "Our ones really shut out Rutherford (in the kickoff classic), we just gave up a touchdown late with some of the young guys in. Only gave up really one touchdown against Niceville, the other came off a turnover inside the 30, and then you had the safety at the end.
"We’re pretty excited about the way the guys are playing on defense, but obviously Friday will be a different animal. Wakulla is good on offense and can do some different things. I hope the kids will be up to the challenge and continue to play at a high level."
Mosley’s defense had 10 tackles for loss against Bay and is allowing just 160.5 yards of offense per contest through two outings.
The offense also had a big night against the Tornadoes with 40 points and 363 total yards, with running backs Don McKay and Jacarri Greene combining for 155 yards on the ground and senior quarterback Joey Garrett passing for 114 yards and a touchdown.
Freshman running back Randy Pittman also rushed for his first two career varsity touchdowns.
As impressive as that performance was, Brown said he and his players are well aware that it will take a bigger effort Friday to have the same kind of night against Wakulla.
"Obviously we had some success against Bay High, but can we do it consistently is the question," Brown said. "I hope we can be consistent and continue to evolve on offense and move the ball. I think early in the game it will be key for us to get some first downs. One of the things we didn’t do against Niceville, it wasn’t just that we didn’t score, it was that we didn’t have a ton of first downs.
"That makes it hard to get into any kind of rhythm on offense, and then you’re not staying on the field so the defense is not getting a ton of rest and fatigue becomes a factor. The key for us is to at least get two or three first downs each series so that even if it doesn’t turn into a touchdown we can flip the field and put the defense in a better position to keep us in the game in the fourth quarter."