Spotlight: Escambia High School, 10/20/17

Mike Bennett's return to coaching certainly created a lot of buzz and the results have followed with Escambia already icing a district title.

It hasn't been all smooth sailing, but Bennett and the Gators are finding the way.

It wasn't the kind of start envisioned for the Bennett era at Escambia High School. Two losses in the first three games forced some soul-searching.

Working on the chemistry was a big factor, but they had some technical issues to iron out as well. Against Lincoln, the offense gave the ball up five times in the red zone.

A district win over Pine Forest certainly righted the ship, but week six against Navarre was a true turning point. On the road against the undefeated Raiders, the Gators fell behind 27 - 0 in the first half, prompting Bennett to dig deep at half-time.

The miraculous comeback win made it pretty clear that Escambia is now a force.

It's no surprise Jacob Copeland is a big part of it on both sides of the ball.

The Florida commit transferred from Pine Forest for his senior season and is definitely producing for the Gators. A matchup nightmare, he's a big play machine on offense.

He's also proving pivotal on defense, his forced fumble produced the game-winning touchdown against Navarre.

Copeland brings some mind-boggling talent, but he's stepping up in so many other ways.

Bennett put his faith in a young quarterback and A.V. Smith is showing why. He has the pedigree, his dad Reggie played quarterback at Escambia and his uncle Octavius played the position for Bennett at Pensacola High School.

There have been some youthful mistakes, but his talent and effort is overcoming it.

There has been a noticeable uptick on defense the last few games. Bennett once again relying on his longtime defensive coordinator Gary Cowart and after some adjustment, his defense is making things happen.

A player that wasn't even on the roster to start the season is proving a big difference-maker. Senior Dominick Miller hadn't played football since ninth grade.

He's been focusing on baseball, but the football itch became unbearable after watching the season opener.

After making a solid contribution at linebacker, injuries forced the Gators to try Miller at defensive end, and it's been a revelation.

Two pivotal sacks sealed the Navarre win and two forced fumbles.

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