PACE — The weight room is warm and large fans mange to move the stale odor of years of sweat around the room rather than provide comfort from the heat.
The mirrored walls make it seem like there are hundreds more people in the room. Music is blaring and the Patriots football team is working out, lifting weights.
The team is busy preparing for the upcoming season by doing the things fans rarely see. Lifting weights, studying playbooks, getting in better shape and trying to perfect their techniques and movements for the positions they will play.
"Our kids are working hard," said Kent Smith, Patriots head coach. "We lost a lot (of talent) with graduation."
Smith came to Pace in 2016 when legendary coach Mickey Lindsey decided to retire after coaching Pace High School for 25 years.
Smith left the head-coaching job at Jay High School where he had been coaching since 2011. Before that, Smith was an assistant coach with Lindsey at Pace High School for 22 years.
Smith said it was the knowledge of the Patriots system that got him the head coach job in Pace.
"I don't make predictions," Smith said of the upcoming season. He said he knows the Patriots can be competitive if they continue to work hard.
Here is the Patriots schedule for the 2019 season:
Choctawhatchee at Pace, Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m.
Pace at Navarre, Aug. 30, 7:30 p.m.
Pace at Mosely, Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m. *
Pace at American (Hialeah, FL), Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m.
Fort Walton at Pace, Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m. *
Booker T. Washington at Pace, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. *
Pace at Escambia, Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. *
Pace at Pensacola Catholic, Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m.
Pace at Gulf Breeze, Oct. 18, 7:30 p.m. *
Milton at Pace, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m. *
Pace at Oak Mountain (Birmingham, AL), Nov. 1. Time to be determined.
* = District Game