By Josh Hyber

315-4476 | @JoshHyberNWFDN

[email protected] 

Sitting in the stands at high school football games around the Emerald Coast, Derek Peoples Sr. keeps an eye on Twitter and the Daily News Sports Facebook page while his phone continuously buzzes with scoring alerts from MaxPreps.

Anything to stay updated on the 11-0 Baker Gators and 10-1 Crestview Bulldogs, two football teams well represented on his YBOA juggernaut Hub City Warriors squad.

Peoples Sr., a Crestview alumna, coaches the basketball travel team that features a backcourt of his son Derek and Junior McLaughlin, running backs at Baker, and three players on Crestview’s varsity roster, running back Tyree Johnson and twin brothers Devin and Jaden Voisin.

In the past four months, local sports fans have learned what People’s has known for a while: there are star athletes who reside north of I-10.

“Seeing Crestview make such a huge improvement from last year to where they’re at this year, it’s amazing,” Peoples Sr. said in a phone conversation Saturday morning. “And then Baker, having my son there and having a relationship with a lot of players and coaches, it’s great to see all the hard work they put in over the summer (paying off).”

Both Baker and Crestview earned first-round playoff victories on Friday night: the Gators’ a 56-6 rout of Cottondale, the Bulldogs’ a 35-0 rout over Middleburg. Baker advances to play at Graceville (7-4) on Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the 1A Regional Finals. Crestview will travel to St. Augustine for a 6A Regional Semifinal match against the 10-1 Yellow Jackets on Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT.

“I feel the relationships are strong between the Baker players and Crestview players as well as the Baker parents and Crestview parents,” Peoples Sr. said. “It’s always, ‘Go Baker, Go Crestview’ from both sides.

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