Different stories for Cougars, Blue Devils

Published 12:36 am Wednesday, November 10, 2004

By Staff
Rob Griffin
The high school football playoffs are here and both the Escambia Academy Cougars and Escambia County Blue devils have steam-rolled their way in.
The Cougars, with a strong defense and high-scoring offense, finished out the regular season 8-2 and get home-field advantage in the AISA playoffs.
The Blue Devils, however, earned a spot in the playoffs by way of defeating Flomaton for the AHSAA's final playoff spot.
As the top seed in their region, the Cougars look to make these playoffs memorable. With the experience of their seniors and a tough defense, they should be primed and ready for play. With the way that EA has played this season, it shouldn't be a surprise to see them advance deep into the playoffs.
The Blue Devils, however, have a different story to tell. A team that hasn't been in the playoffs since 1999, the Blue Devils have more to prove. With a team history that includes a state championship in 1983, the Blue Devils are looking to reclaim past glory.
In 1999, the Devils went 6-4 and lost to Opp 31-30 in the first round of the playoffs. They haven't tasted much success since then.
With some bad press in recent years, Atmore is looking to erase past failures and focus their attention on Elmore County High School, their opponent in the first round of the playoffs on the road Friday night.
The Blue Devils do not have a "star" player this season, but they do have several "play-makers" that make this team go. Senior halfback Kendrick McNeal has gained a lot of yards on the ground, and juniors, quarterback Calvin Hartley and wide receiver Chris Andrews have connected on several occasions to get ECHS where it is now.
Seniors Willie Taylor and Delron Staples anchor a tough defense that has held opponents in check during the waning minutes of games in the last few weeks.
Although Escambia Academy is a private school, superintendent "Buck Powell" sends best wishes to both schools. Powell was the head coach on the 1983 ECHS state championship team.
Good luck to both Escambia Academy and Escambia County High School.
Rob Griffin is a resident of Atmore and writes on sports for the Atmore Advance.

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