DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — For Walton, the victories from the preseason kickoff classic were two-fold.

A 17-12 varsity lead over Holmes County at halftime was the first win, a victory punctuated by an ability to move the chains and generate timely stops.

But even if the scoreboard was flipped, a moral victory would have rested on the Braves finally getting some live reps following a inclement-weather August.

“I think we were in the gym more than we were outside,” quipped the veteran coach, who led Fort Walton Beach to a state title in 1991 and has enjoyed Division I assistant coaching stints at Florida, Tennessee and Middle Tennessee State. “We did some good things and there was a lot of promise. There was also a lot of early mistakes, but that’s to be expected.”

The mistakes had a lot to do with getting used to the speed of the game, Stephens voiced. But the main takeaway was the experience for a junior-laden Braves team, which lost two of its best players in linebacker/running back Dre Matthews and starting quarterback Thomas Brack to graduation. Boding well for the Braves is they return a slew of playmakers, including running back Kentrell Parker, tight end Eyin Cole, receiver/safety Elijah Neal, senior running back Javon Graham and senior offensive lineman John Van Eycken.

“Friday night was fun after all the bad weather,” he said. “Getting to scrimmage was a relief, but we still feel like we’re a week behind. Some players are affected more than others, so we just have to build up that experience and get everyone used to Fridays.

“We still have a long ways to go.”

Mosley would probably argue the same coming off last year’s 4-6 season. Even so, Stephens sees a foe “big on the lines and full of depth.”

“We play one of the

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