Blue Devils caged by Tigers
Published 10:01 pm Monday, August 30, 2004
Atmore – Before stepping foot onto the field Friday night the Escambia County Blue Devils have already experienced three loses this year. A moment of silence was held for Kelvin Norman, Clifton Cooks and Woodrow Riley, three students of Escambia County High School who have lost their lives this month. Afterwards the Blue Devils faced off against defending state champs T.R. Miller in this year's season opener. After a dismal defeat the Devils walked off the field, with heads on their chests reeling from a defeat of 42-6.
The first quarter began with the Devils in possession of the ball, which wasn't the case for long as the Tigers took possession of the ball after three minutes of game play and continued to play offensively for the majority of the first quarter. The Tigers was the first team to score a touchdown of the night with 3:18 left on the clock and would score again only two minutes later. After the Tigers first touchdown the Devils received the ball on the 18 yard line. Junior Calvin Hartley, quarterback of the Devils, was tackled behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of yardage. On the 8-yard line, junior Chris Andrews fumbled the ball in an attempt to punt, allowing the tigers to recover the ball, running into the end zone for the Tigers second touchdown of the night. After both touchdowns, the Tigers made both PATs, allowing them to leave the first quarter leading the Devils 14-0.
During the second quarter the Tigers made a number of mistakes keeping them from making another touchdown. A pass to T.R. Miller senior Damien Jackson waiting in the end zone was incomplete and was later followed by another pass to junior Jason McCreary who dropped the ball around the 1-yard line causing another incomplete pass for the Tigers. After these two incomplete passes and the second and third downs both replayed as instructed by the referees, the Tigers made a field goal attempt that was no good. With 5:34 on the clock, the Blue Devils now in control of the ball began making their push from the 18-yard line. Hartley along with senior Kendrick McNeil and senior Willie Taylor gained 10 yards on carries. In their next play, Hartley launched an astounding 72 yard pass to Andrews who caught and ran the ball into the end zone with 4:10 on the clock. Hartley attempted the PAT, but it was no good. Senior Byron Taylor intercepted the ball for the Devils two minutes later but was unsuccessful in their attempt to close the gap in this first half.
Leading the second half 14-6, T.R. Miller received the ball and made a steady effort to travel the ball down the field eventually resulting in junior Antonio Gomez scoring the Tigers third touchdown of the night with 7:48 on the clock. The tigers made the PAT following the touchdown for score of 21-6. The Devils receive the ball and then on their second down lost control as they fumble the ball with T.R. Miller recovering the ball on the 7-yard line. Sophomore Nykeem Barton took the ball into the end zone on the next play with junior Mikel Riggs making the PAT. Again, the Blue Devils received the ball and attempt to make a touchdown, however, with a pass that was "popped up" off the fingers of senior Terrance Jones of the Devils; the Tigers swoop behind and intercept the ball for another touchdown and make the PAT. The Devils again try to make a touchdown with Hartley throwing another long pass this time to McNeal who catches the ball and is stopped before entering the end zone for the touchdown. The Devils fight but are not able to make the touchdown. Before the third quarter is ended the Tigers once more make a touchdown against the Devils with 1:56 left on the clock and the PAT is good bringing the score to 42-6. The second half is wrapped up with the fourth quarter coming and going with neither team scoring.
"The little things are keeping us from being great. We made two key mistakes out there in our special teams, and we're not going to be successful until they start doing what we ask," said McDole. "They've got the ability in them, it's the mental part we have to work on, like I said out there we need to stay focused, be able to overcome diversity, and not wait for the day of the game to start preparing."
Next Friday night the Escambia County Blue Devils play at UMS Wright.