Devils tame TigersPublished 12:34am Saturday, October 13, 2012
The Escambia County Blue Devils took a step toward salvaging their first season under head coach Lev Holly and keeping their playoffs hopes alive Friday night when they earned a homecoming win over region foes, the Monroe County Tigers.
Holly said he was proud of his team for doing what had to be done to remain alive in the Class 4A, Region 1 playoff hunt.
“We have to win all of our region games in order to make the playoffs and the boys know that,” Holly said.
ECHS (2-5, (2-3) seemed to have bought in to the homecoming hype, scoring first off a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chris Johnson to junior receiver Malcolm English to go up 6-0 on the Tigers with 8:11 to play in the first quarter.
The Devils found the end zone once more in the first half off a second-quarter 5-yard touchdown sprint from Johnson, but also allowed Monroe to find pay dirt, leaving ECHS up by only 8 points, leading 14-6 at the half.
Despite the halftime rest, both teams looked winded in the early in the second half, with each offense sloppily moving down the field only to be denied on third and fourth down and short situations.
But motivation seemed to return midway through the third quarter as the Devils capped off a 70-yard drive with a 1-yard ground score from Payne. Johnson added the two-point conversion to give ECHS a 22-6 lead.
The Tigers quickly answered a long drive of their own and 5-yard touchdown pass to lessen the Devils lead, but Payne would answer on the next drive with a 65-yard touchdown run to give ECHS a 30-12 buffer with 4:16 left in the third.
Monroe found a way to score once more late in the game but a second touchdown hookup from Johnson to English would seal the win for ECHS as they knocked off the Tigers at home.
“The kids played hard,” Holly said following the win. “It’s like I told them, we’ve got have a one-game season from here on out, but I can’t be more proud of my kids. They came out and fought hard and played well.”
Holly said that fight will have to continue to secure another region win next week on the road against Hillcrest-Evergreen.
“We’ve got to keep fighting,” Holly said. “We’ve got to go on the road next week. We’ve just got to out and make it that one game season. We’ll have to play a lot better.”
ECHS will next meet Hillcrest-Evergreen next week on the road at 7 p.m.