Building confidencePublished 9:08pm Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Coming off two bad losses, the Escambia County High School Blue Devils’ and Escambia Academy Cougars’ football teams got some confidence back on Friday.
ECHS led state Class 4A-ranked UMS-Wright 14-7 in Friday’s game before allowing 41 unanswered points after a 14-0 loss at Wilcox Academy. EA handled rival Sparta Academy 35-3 at home after a 50-14 loss at Monroe Academy.
ECHS at Faith Academy
Blue Devils’ Coach Lev Holly said Monday his young team gained confidence in an early lead against the defending state champions and he told them to “keep focused” and “keep giving it everything you can.”
“I think there was a lot of confidence,” Holly said. “(UMS-Wright) came out on the winning side, but there can be a lot gained from that.”
Holly creditted the Bulldogs and their coaching staff in the win. He admitted that ECHS (0-4, 0-2 in Class 4A Region 1) still has a long way to go.
“I give credit to our guys in the way that we played,” he said. “They made plays all night long.”
With the score 7-6, Devonte Dailey recovered his own muffed kickoff and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown. The Blue Devils then converted the two-point play with a Chris Johnson run up the middle to give ECHS a 14-7 lead with 1:34 left in the opening quarter.
“I didn’t know if he lost it in the lights or what,” Holly said of the dropped kickoff. “He did a good job of picking it up and scoring. That was big for us.”
ECHS travels to Mobile to take on Faith Academy on Friday, which begins the first of three straight road contests for the Blue Devils. The Rams are in AHSAA Class 5A, but are 0-4 with losses to Saraland, Gulf Shores, LeFlore and Spanish Fort.
According to the Alabama High School Football Historical Society website, Faith has scored 86 points this season and allowed 186. ECHS has scored 50 points and allowed 152 in four losses.
All time ECHS leads Faith 3-2, losing 35-32 to the Rams last year, but winning the previous three years, according to www.ahsfhs.org. They two teams have played every year since 2008.
Holly said the Rams are a very athletic team with a quarterback that has committed to the University of Miami.
“I’ve met him in person,” Holly said. “He’s a great athlete. He makes them go.”
Holly said Faith has a healthy set of skill players to compliment the athleticism of the quarterback.
“They’ll be a good challenge for us,” Holly said. “It’s about us, though. We don’t make it about any other team except Escambia County High School.”
Morgan Academy at EA
There were too many penalties for EA coach Hugh Fountain’s liking in the Cougars 35-3 win over Sparta Academy. He said the team committed six penalties in the first half and had two touchdowns called back because of infractions.
Other than that he was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We played hard and blocked pretty well,” Fountain said. “I’ve looked at film and I’m pleased with everything, but I’m not pleased with the penalties.”
EA sits at 3-2 and 1-2 in AISA AAA Region 2 play. Morgan is 2-2 and the gridiron tilt on Friday could result in better playoff position for the winner.
“This game will wrap up our playoff position,” Fountain said. “If we can win this we’ll be the No. 3 seed.”
Fountain said with Morgan, the Cougars would face a team that will throw more than usual.
“They throw the ball a lot,” he said. “Offensively, they put up a lot of points and yards.”
Fountain said the Cougars would have to put pressure on the MA quarterback and stay disciplined on defense.
EA beat Morgan 34-6 last year. The Cougars are 1-2 all time against MA, but the teams have only played once since 1975, according to www.ahsfhs.org.
Morgan opened the season with a win over Pike Liberal Arts and Meadowview Christian before losing to Wilcox Academy by three points and Tuscaloosa Academy in back-to-back home games.
EA beat Glenwood Academy, 53-26 before traveling to Greenville and losing to Fort Dale Academy. They followed that with a 48-7 win over Hooper Academy, a loss to Monroe Academy and a win last week.
Choctawhatchee at Northview
The Chiefs will look to come off a bye week and rebound from a loss to Chipley, hosting Choctawhatchee out of Fort Walton Beach.
The Indians are 3-1 with wins over Pace, Crestview and Gulf Breeze and a loss to Niceville. Northview is 1-2 after beating Bozeman and home and losing on the road at Marianna and Chipley.