Blowout victoryPublished 10:19am Monday, September 17, 2012
Escambia County High School captured its first win of the season with a resounding 20-0 shutout of Wilcox Central.
Quarterback Chris Johnson carried the load on offense by carrying the ball 12 times and rushing for 66 yards including all three of the team’s touchdowns.
“Chris is Chris. Chris is learning the game at a totally different level,” head coach Lev Holly said. “We’re gonna go wherever he goes. I thought he showed a lot of poise.”
The defense was led by three seniors: Tywon Dixon, Cornelious Palmer, and Markiece Daughtry.
Dixon led the entire team with an impressive 12 tackles, Palmer added four while also having a quarterback sack, and Daughtry also contributed four tackles.
From the opening drive, things didn’t look good for Wilcox Central. The team fumbled the ball at their own 20-yard line, setting the Blue Devils up for great field position. After a solid 11-yard run from LaDereis Payne, the team had a first down at the goal line.
Johnson managed the punch the ball in from the one-yard line to put the Blue Devils up 6-0. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful.
Both teams exchanged bad snaps that led to the opposition having excellent field position, but only Escambia County was able to capitalize.
Johnson managed to find some running room for a 26-yard run that later resulted in him rushing the ball into the end zone from the 5-yard line for his second score of the game. The two-point conversion was again unsuccessful, which made left the Blue Devils with a 12-0 lead.
Wilcox Central was again hurt by a misplay on the ensuing drive. On fourth down, the punter did not get the punt away before having his knee touch the ground.
Once again, the Blue Devils were able to take possession with excellent field position. Payne had a run of 11 yards, followed by a run of 9 yards. He plunged forward a yard for another first down and from there, Johnson once again found the end zone from five yards out. This time, the team was able to convert the two-point conversion by giving the ball to Imani Gray. That put the Blue Devils in the lead 20-0 with just under a minute before halftime.
In the second half, Johnson was able to connect with Devante Williams for a gain of 29 yards. Johnson finished the game with five for eight on passing with 41 passing yards.
It was the defense that received most of the work in the second half. The Blue Devils defense forced three fumbles, one of which was recovered by Dominique Hubert towards the end of the game to close the door on Wilcox Central.
Following the game, Holly seemed relieved to get the first win for his team.
“It feels good. Our kids work their tails off,” Holly said. “It doesn’t stop here.”
Holly knows the schedule is not easy and pointed out that facing a powerhouse squad in UMS-Wright will surely be challenging, but he’s encouraged by the hard work his team showed in practice this week and is hoping to see the same next week.
“I’m proud of my kids,” Holly said. “I want to thank all the fans for coming out and showing their support.”
As for his defense managing to secure a shutout, Holly refused to give credit to any standout player, saying the entire defense deserved credit.
“It was a unit,” Holly said. “Any time you get a shutout, you’ve got to give credit to all 11 players.”