Crenshaw schedules Florida public school

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2005

LUVERNE — When Mobile's Independent Methodist School closed its doors at the end of this past school year, it left a void in Crenshaw Christian Academy's football schedule.

Cougars coach Roland Jones searched for a suitable replacement, but could only find smaller Class A schools willing to be host to his team.

Then Jones got a call from Panama City Beach, Fla.

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Arnold School is a Florida public school that has the enrollment equivalent to Greenville High. Arnold coach James Hale, a native of Montgomery, and Jones reached an agreement that will extend over the next four seasons to play each year in Panama City Beach.

"I looked at it as a great opportunity for our kids to play in first-class facility," Jones said.

He said the stadium, itself, has the seating capacity to Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, which can easily hold more than 30,000.

So why cross the state line for a game?

"We were offered by some smaller schools in the state, but I think the opportunity for the kids and the school was hard to pass up."

Making a trip to Panama City Beach would also seem like an unnecessarily long trip for the Cougars.

"It's going to be about a two-hour trip for us, but we travel farther," Jones explained. "We play at Chambers Academy (LaFayette), which is about three hours away."

Arnold also will make the trip worthwhile, since it will pay for Crenshaw Christian's travel expenses. Jones said that Arnold will cover the cost of travel to and from Panama City Beach as well as cover the pregame meal for the Cougars.

Crenshaw Christian will travel to Arnold this season on Oct. 7.

Dates for the remaining three years on the contract have not been decided yet.