Last season, the Gulf Breeze Dolphins introduced the "All In" concept, and the players immediately bought into the philosophy.
The result was the school's first playoff appearance since 2003. This year, coach Chris Nemith has taken it a step further with the "Next Man In" philosophy.
And once again, it's paid off for the Dolphins, as they've locked up consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in school history and are 7-2 going into Friday's showdown with rival Navarre.
"I was fortunate to learn that philosophy from Oregon coach Chip Kelly," Nemith said. "And the players have really taken to it, just as they did with our "All In" mantra. This is just an extension of that."
Basically, the "Next Man In" philosophy builds depth and continuity throughout the team. At times during practice, Nemith says the coaches will blow the whistle and call out "Next Man In" and players switch positions.
"Last year, when we got into the playoffs, we had some injuries, and we weren't very deep and it hurt us," Nemith said. "So, what we did, starting in the summer time, we taught our guys jobs. They had a primary position, but we used a circuit during the summer. One day a week they learn different jobs and positions.
"It's made us very versatile. In our situation when we lost Chandler (Foxworth) to injury, we had Austin Dermody, who was also playing Y and tight end for us, step into that position. We've had the ability of Andy Creech to play some F-back with Gray (Dorsey) at quarterback. We also do it on the offensive line. It just creates depth and trust."
Patriots stay the course in victory
It would have been easy for Pace to be caught with their minds elsewhere Friday night when the Catholic Crusaders came to town.
The Patriots' postseason hopes hinged on the outcome of the Pine Forest-Milton and PHS-Escambia games.
That, combined with a potent Catholic attack staring at them from across the field, could have spelled a disastrous night for the team in red, white and blue.
But Pace stayed the course and held off a late Crusaders rally to pull out a 16-15 win over Catholic.
"We focused on trying to beat Catholic, that was hard enough in itself," Pace coach Mickey Lindsey said. "We didn't want (the other scores) announced. These seniors, with it being homecoming, we wanted them to go out with a win.
"It wasn't in my mind as much because Catholic has as good a team as we've played this year. I didn't hear anyone talking (about the other games). I'm sure it was on their minds, but we had our hands full with one of the best teams in the area."
Tate gains steam into offseason
Finishing 1-8 is never a goal of any team.
But when you're coming off a winless season and haven't won a game since October 2010, any victory is considered an accomplishment.
For the Tate Aggies, beating the Washington Wildcats on Friday night was critical for their program -- one which they hope is destined for a rebound.
"We talked about it all week long that the lasting legacy these seniors could leave with was with a win," Tate coach Brad Naggatz said. "I thought it was critical for this place.
"They were bound and determined to deliver that gift, and they did."
Naggatz is in his first year of trying to resurrect the program, which snapped a 20-game losing streak with last Friday's win.
Closing out the season with a win, even it's the only one of the season is a positive, Naggatz said.
"It's absolutely a good thing," Naggatz said. "That's why I thought it was critical.
"We had good seasons with our freshmen and JV teams. We had five freshmen that dressed for varsity in that final game.
"We have some good young players coming up and we're really chomping at the bit for spring. Since we started this thing, we said the key was to get into the weight room and work hard. They've been doing that. We're looking forward to this offseason and seeing how much stronger we can get."
Pace's potential road eerily similar
Last season, the Pace Patriots' playoff path ended up being a vengeance tour, as they were able to make amends for their only two losses during the regular season.
The Patriots opened last year's playoff run against Niceville, which beat them 14-13 during the regular season. In the second round of the state playoffs, the Patriots traveled to play PHS, who had handed the Patriots a 36-13 setback earlier in the year.
This year, the Patriots open the playoffs with Navarre, which knocked off the Patriots by a 19-13 margin earlier this year.
If the Patriots survive that game, they could end up playing Milton, which handed Pace another loss with a 28-20 win over the Patriots.
"It could work out the same way, but we will have our hands full next Friday night with Navarre," Lindsey said. "We're playing an 8-1 team, and we can't look ahead. I've been doing this a long time. I don't even look at the brackets. I can't because it's so hard around here.
"The way they've done this with the brackets, that's the way it will be. We all play each other during the season, so it stands to reason we'll play each other again. This has happened to us four or five times."