Defending state champs put fork in Blue Devils, 38-14
By By RICHARD PATE
Advance Staff Writer
Saint Paul's wing back offense had too many weapons as Blue Devils fall 38-14.
ECHS traveled to Mobile to face the 1999 4A State champions in muddy E.E. Delaney Memorial Stadium.
After last week's loss to local area nemesis T.R. Miller, the Devils were still looking to get their new wishbone offense on track. Both teams came into the contest with 0-1 records and both teams were bent on working kinks out. However, Saint Paul's wing back turned yards into points as their offense racked up over 350 yards on the ground.
While ECHS vastly improved from last weeks loss by doubling their yardage total with 274 yards of rushing offense, they were unable to sustain drives due to penalties and miscues.
Saint Paul took the opening kickoff and went 65 yards on five rushing plays to take and early 7-0 lead. The drive was highlighted by a third-and -three play in which senior Jared Nelson took a miss direction counter for a 49-yard romp down to the Blue Devil 3. Nelson hit pay dirt two plays later with a 3-yard scoring run with just 9:52 left in the first quarter.
The Blue Devils would go four plays and out on their first possession and after a 28-yard punt by Jovon Brown, the Saints would be back in business at their own 42.
However, the Blue Devil Defense had plans of their own. After forcing the Saints into a third-and-twenty situation, crafty senior Ricky Craft shadowed Saint split-end Murray Sharpe and came up with the games first turnover.
Starting their second drive on their own 10-yard line, the Blue Devils would show the home team a little of their high-powered wishbone offense. Ten plays and 90-yards later, the Blue Devils scored their first touchdown of the season on a quarterback keeper by senior Traveis Guy. The scoring play came on a fourth-and-three when the gambling Devils rolled the dice and came up winners. The PAT was blocked and with 18 seconds left in the first quarter the Saints led 7-6.
Saint Paul would go four plays and out on the next possession and following a 20-yard punt,
ECHS was at mid-field. However, the Blue Devils would manage just one first down and after another Brown punt, the Saints were pinned deep on their own 13.
This would be brief, for on the first play of the drive, Nelson ran another miss direction play for a 47-yard gallop down to the Atmore 40. Six plays later, the Saints crossed the Devil goal from one-yard out. The PAT was good, and with 4:52 left in the first half Saint Paul led 14-6.
After the ensuing kickoff, Atmore set up shop on their own 38-yard line. Four plays later they would be forced to punt again as their offense failed to get one first down.
Saint Paul once again would be forced to go the length of the field as their started their fourth drive of the night on their own 26. Mixing the rush with an occasional pass, the Saints drove down to the ECHS 15. With 43 seconds left in the half, senior QB Brent Johnson found split-end Michael Forwood on a post-corner route in the end zone. The PAT failed and with seconds left in the first half, the Saints led 20-6.
ECHS took the second half kickoff on their own 39 but were unable to move the ball. With a fourth-and-four the Devils were once again forced to punt. A mishandled snap on the punt and a clipping call on Browns attempt to get a first down, set the Saints up in Blue Devil territory at the ECHS 40.
Just five plays later, the score looked like the rain soaked field at Delaney Stadium-ugly. Steven Moore intercepted the two-point conversion attempt, but the damage was done, and with eight minutes left in the third quarter, the score was 26-6.
The Saints would wind up scoring 31 unanswered points until junior James Wilson took a quarterback keeper down the left side line for a 92-yard touchdown run right in front of the home teams bench. Eugene Thomas took a toss sweep around the right side for the two-point conversion to finish the scoring at 38-14.
Senior tailback Norman Henderson would once again lead all rushing for ECHS with 93 yards on 19 carriers followed by Wilson with 2 carries for 91 yards and Guy with 7 carries for 62 yards.
The Devils are at home next week against Baldwin County.