Blue Devils falter late in the game

Published 10:28 pm Tuesday, September 14, 2004

By Staff
Chuck Bodiford
Andalusia – Friday night the Escambia County Blue Devils faced off against the Andalusia Bulldogs in their first away game of the season. Going into the game the Devils played with a tenacious attitude resulting in them leaving the first half leading the Dogs 7-2. With a record of 0-2, the Devils hoped that this game would be their first win of the season. Unfortunately the Dogs had similar plans wanting this game to result in their second win of the season. With a hard push against the Devil's defense the Dogs were able to make two touchdowns in the last five minutes of the game allowing the Dogs to walk off the field triumphant, winning the game 15 -14.
The Dogs received the ball first in the opening quarter of the game on the 49-yard line. A penalty called against the Blue Devils assisted the Dogs in them gaining the first down. Proving to be unsuccessful in gaining another first down, Matthew Mitchell of the Dogs punted the ball with it coming to rest on the 1-yard line where the Blue Devils took possession. The two teams fought aggressively to hold each other at bay. After an exhausting nine minutes into the game Delron Staples of the Devils, intercepted a pass thrown by the Dog's Matt Mellown. Only forty-four seconds later the Devils lost possession of the ball when the Devils fumbled off a pitch allowing the Dogs to recover the ball. Before the quarter ended the Dogs traveled the ball up the field to the 9-yard line where Kendrick McNeil returned the favor taking possession for the Blue Devils after the Dogs fumbled the ball.
Opening up into the second quarter the Bulldogs pushed hard into the Blue Devils where quarterback Calvin Hartley was pushed into a safety allowing the Dogs to have the first score on the board. With a 45-yard pass from Blue Devil Calvin Harley the Devils prepped themselves for their first touchdown of the night. Before falling Hartley pitched to McNeil who ran a 21 yard touchdown followed by Elliot Faircloth make the PAT. The Dogs offense continued to move the ball, however missing a few key passes prevented the Bulldogs from scoring a touchdown in the first half of the game.
After receiving the ball at the start of the second half quarterback for the Devils, Hartley was blitzed by Andalusia's Jamal Summers followed by teammate, Matthew Mitchell tipping the ball as the Devils tried to punt. The Dogs renewed vigor wouldn't stop the Devils again from scoring a touchdown. With 5:19 on the clock, Willie Taylor of the Blue Devils weaved through the Dogs defense to score the Devils second touchdown, followed by Faircloth again making the PAT. Again in control of the ball Dogs pressed hard up the field with two passes from Matt Mellown. The first complete pass was to Michael Eldridge who made a first down followed with a 35-yard complete pass to Charlie Baker. However, unable to make a touchdown in the remainder of the third quarter the Dogs went into the fourth quarter trailing by twelve.
With only six minutes left in the game, the Blue Devils fumbled the ball giving possession to the Dogs on the 47-yard line. With a steady hard press by Curtis Johnson and the Dogs offensive team, they steadily moved closer to the end zone. Running up the middle from around the 20-yard line on a keeper, Johnson scored the first touchdown for the Dogs. After a successful PAT by Michael Berry the Dogs trailed the Devils only by five points. After receiving the ball and unable to make a first down the Devils gave over control of the ball to the Dogs who falls at the 44-yard line on the return. As the clock continued counting down the Dogs steadily worked for another touchdown. With only 1:19 left in the game, the Dogs squeeze in their last touchdown of the night when Berry scored on a carry followed by an unsuccessful PAT. The Devil's Hartley tried hard with four incomplete passes hoping to once again regain the lead. With that the Andalusia Bulldogs took control of the ball with 30 seconds on the clock counting down to their victory of the Blue Devils 15-14.
"Just like I told them just now, there will be no finger pointing. There wasn't one single event that caused us to lose this game. The little things is what is going to make us winners, so it's those little things that we have to get down if we expect to win," said Coach Mardye McDoyle. "We'll be out there on the field working on these little things Monday."
In this upcoming Friday night's game the Escambia County Blue Devils will play Hillcrest-Evergreen here in Atmore.

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