Dolphins sink Blue Devils

Published 3:54 pm Monday, October 10, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
Escambia County High School's lackluster performance in the second half of Friday night's contest against Gulf Shores not only put a damper on the school's homecoming celebration, but also ended any chances of making the playoffs.
The Dolphins (4-2, 2-2) overcame a 14-7 halftime deficit by outscoring the Blue Devils (2-5, 1-4) 28-8 in the second half to run away with a 35-22 win.
"Our thing is that we have to get better," ECHS head coach Kyle Davis said after the game. "If we see this as being the end of our season for us, it's going to be two long weeks for us and we can't let that happen. We've got to play for pride. We only had three wins last year and we can still finish with four if we'll go do our job."
Gulf Shores scored first in the game with a touchdown with just over four minutes to play in the first. Escambia County answered back early in the second quarter when freshman running back DeMarcus Johnson plowed his way into the end zone from three yards out to tie the game 7-7.
The Blue Devils took the lead late in the second on a three-yard quarterback keeper by senior quarterback Calvin Hartley. Sophomore kicker Elliot Faircloth added the point after kick to give the home team a 14-7 lead.
The Dolphins' running game dominated the Blue Devils' defense throughout the second half as they scored four touchdowns. As if poor defensive play wasn't enough, ECHS also lost Hartley to an injury on the first drive of the second half.
"When your starting quarterback goes down and he's 80 percent of your offense, what can you do?" Davis said. "Our concern right now is Calvin's health, it might be a broken hand. Micheal Thomas did a good job coming off the bench. Heck, he's playing with a separated shoulder. He's a ninth grader and is a kid you've got to look at for the future.
The Dolphins' first second-half score came on a one-yard run midway through the third quarter and was followed up by a quarterback keeper with 1:22 remaining in the third. Gulf Shores went up 28-14 following a 23-yard run late in the fourth quarter and sealed the deal with a 10-yard run with 1:39 remaining in the game to make it 35-14.
The Blue Devils managed to piece together a quick drive late in the game and scored on a 15-yard run by backup, freshman quarterback Micheal Thomas, who replaced the injured Hartley. Faircloth hauled in Thomas' pass to add the two-point conversion with 29 seconds remaining in the game making the score 35-22.
An onside kick attempt by Escambia County failed and Gulf Shores came away the victor.
"We said at halftime that we needed to come out and play the brand of football we're capable of playing and we did," Gulf Shores head coach Duane Davis said. "That's the best half of football Gulf Shores High School has ever played. It's a great win for us."
The Blue Devils will follow up the homecoming loss with two contests on the road against Class 4, Region 1 opponents Jackson and Choctaw County.
"I'm disappointed in the loss, I really am," Kyle Davis said. "I felt like it was a game that we could have won. I feel like when they went up 28-14 we kind of let up and gave in. It hurts this coaching staff to see the kids hurt."

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