ESCO falls 42-20 in season opener in Brewton
By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
The Escambia County High School Blue Devils couldn't salvage a win from a tough T.R. Miller High School team in the season opener Friday night in Brewton as they fell 0-1 after a 42-20 loss.
Miller, last year's state champions took a 7-0 lead on the opening kickoff and maintained a strong lead throughout the contest.
Things went Miller's way from the very beginning.
ECHS opened the game by kicking off to Rayvon Howard who immediately gave Miller the lead after he hurdled a would-be tackler, found a hole and dashed through it for a 97-yard return.
Patrick Byrne's extra point conversion gave Miller a 7-0 lead.
Escambia County's offense got off to a rough start. After beginning on their 20-yard line, a couple penalties and plays for losses backed them up to the 1-yard line. There, a snap was mishandled and a T.R. Miller defenseman picked it up and jolted into the end zone.
The PAT made the score 14-0, without Miller's offense stepping on the field.
The Blue Devils put together a short drive to the 47-yard line on their next possession, but it stalled after a false start penalty.
After the punt, the T.R. Miller offense finally got a shot from their own 29-yard line that came to an end with a 19-yard run to the 2-yard line. The Brewton team scored from there on the next play.
Byrne's PAT was good and the Tigers took a 21-0 lead.
After a short possession by the Blue Devils, a punt gave Miller good field position near midfield. On the very first play of the possession, Howard took the handoff, broke a few tackles and outran the secondary for his second touchdown of the game.
The PAT was good, giving Miller a 28-0 lead in the first quarter.
Escambia County's next possession was short-lived and T.R. Miller's offense took the field once again following a punt.
From the Blue Devil 30-yard line, Byrne found Dawsey wide open near the sideline where he caught the ball and ran it in for another score.
The PAT made the score 35-0.
At the beginning of the second quarter, ECHS had possession at their own 27. But, facing a fourth down and 2-yards to go, they opted to punt. But, Dawsey made a big special teams play when he cut his way through the line and blocked the kick. Miller took possession on the Blue Devil 44.
After Miller ran two plays for short yardage, a pitch back was mishandled by a Tiger runningback. ECHS lineman Steven Gray picked up the ball and rumbled downfield to the 28-yard line.
ECHS got the ball rolling after an interference call that put the line of scrimmage at the Miller 20-yard line.
Two plays later,quarterback James Wilson threw a pass to junior receiver Kantral Johnson who reached around a defender and caught the ball for to put the Blue Devils on the board.
The PAT was blocked and T.R. Miller was still leading 35-6 with 7:25 to go in the first half.
It appeared ECHS may bite into the lead a little more after senior defensive back Willie Knight grabbed a Byrne pass and returned it to the Miller 22-yard line.
Another interference call against the Tiger defense helped move Escambia County to the 15-yard line where senior Antonio Richardson handed the ball off for a gain of 11 to the 4-yard line.
But, T.R. Miller held tough and stopped the Blue Devils who worked their way to the 2-yard line.
Miller came ut strong in the second half and worked up another scoring drive.
The PAT was good and Miller opened their lead to 42-6.
Escambia County broke through the Miller defense again early in the fourth period, when Wilson found a hole and outran the defense for a 90-yard TD run on the first play of a possession.
A two-point conversion was no good. The score was 42-12 with eight minutes to go in the game.
Escambia County added another score on their next possession. Once again, they did it on one play as Richardson took the handoff 53 yards into the end zone. The two-point conversion was good and the Devils had cut the lead to 42-20.
But, time was on the Tigers side and ECHS was forced to try an onside kick. The attempt went out-of-bounds at the 50, where Miller took possession.
The Blue Devils will face St. Paul next week in an area home game.