Blue Devils get off to shaky start

Published 9:46 pm Monday, August 23, 2004

By Staff
Arthur McLean
The ECHS Blue Devils unofficially opened the 2004 football season with a jamboree game against Mobile's Shaw High School Thursday night.
Neither team looked sharp, and both teams had a tendency to follow good plays with momentum killing penalties. Shaw "won" the shortened game with a score of 7-0.
The game was kept to two 20-minute halves, with no kick-offs, and no rushes on punts and no kick or punt returns.
The Blue Devil defense had trouble stopping the Eagles' toss sweep most of the night, but it could prove to be an opportunistic defense this season, forcing two Shaw turnovers, a fumble and an interception.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Blue Devils had trouble stopping Shaw's defensive penetration. With Shaw's front four getting pressure, Blue Devil running backs had a difficult time breaking clear on sweeps, but ECHS was able to get some movement running between the tackles.
The defensive penetration rendered the Blue Devil passing game ineffective. Junior quarterback Calvin Hartley had little time to set up before a Shaw defender was in his face.
The Blue Devils had the biggest tendency to follow a big play with a big penalty.
Opening the second half, ECHS seemed to have the running game going behind senior Kendrick McNeal with two big gainers over the left, but a penalty killed the Blue Devils' momentum.
Shaw followed the pattern on its next possession with two big plays, a pass and a run, but fumbled the ball to the Blue Devils on the 25.
ECHS will open the regular season Friday night against T.R. Miller at 6:30 p.m. in Atmore.

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