No. 5 Tigers maul Blue Devils
Published 3:29 pm Monday, October 3, 2005
By By Adam Prestridge
The postseason fate of the Escambia County High School Blue Devils lies in their own hands.
Following a 41-13 thrashing to fifth-ranked Thomasville Friday night, the Blue Devils have to win their next three Class 4A, Region 1 contests to keep their playoff hopes alive.
ECHS head coach Kyle Davis said his offensive unit didn't gel the way it needed to in order to keep pace with the Tigers' explosive offense.
"We did not execute on offense the way we can," Davis said. "We've just got to come back out here next week and go back to work. We've got three region games left and if we can run the table and win out, we're in; it's that simple. We control our own destiny. If we win out, we're in; bottom line."
The Blue Devils looked to be able to put a leash on the Tigers early in the game, but several miscues allowed the visitors to put up 21 unanswered points in the first half.
"Defensively early, we couldn't stop the running game," Davis said. "As far as years behind this team, our program is six or seven years behind them. Coach Hankins has been there for seven years and does a fine, outstanding job with that bunch. They are discipline and play well week in and week out. Strength-wise, we're not as strong as them, so they were able to push us on and off the ball and drive us off the ball and we weren't able to stop them early. Then later on, when we did stop them, our offense just couldn't move the ball. We had a wet track; we fumbled some balls and turned the ball over. If we can't run the football, we're not going to be very successful."
Escambia County came out after halftime on fire, which was quickly extinguished by a few more miscues and a Thomasville score. The highlight of the second half for the Blue Devils came when senior receiver Chris Andrews hauled in senior quarterback Calvin Hartley's pass and toted it 77 yards for the touchdown.
The Tigers went on to score two more touchdowns before the Blue Devils answered back when Hartley bulled his way in from three yards out. The touchdown was setup by another Hartley-Andrew connection this time for 42 yards.
"We came out and executed well to start with, but we had far too many penalties and we're going to have to get that corrected," Thomasville head coach Jack Hankins said. "We were worried about their speed and worried about their quarterback and wanted to take him out of the game, but he still did a tremendous job. Our offensive line won the battle in the trenches."
Escambia County will host Gulf Shores High School next Friday night for its homecoming game, which is also a key region game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Davis believes the Blue Devils will have to play well in the secondary to claim the win.
"Gulf Shores is a spread team like we are, so we've got to be able to stop the passing game and the quick stuff," Davis said. "I feel like, man-for-man we match up with them a lot better than we do Thomasville. My team has got to learn that there are going to be some bumps in the road and we've got to take them in stride and tonight was a bump."
The Blue Devils will follow up the home contest the next two weeks on the road with region games against Jackson and Choctaw County.