Blue Devils end season on winning note

Published 4:43 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
In a back-and-forth battle Friday night against Choctaw County on the road, Escambia County High School was able to pull off a 34-22 win and finish the year on a positive note.
The Blue Devils' desire to win the game despite trailing two times in the contest gives first-year head coach Kyle Davis hope for the future.
"The biggest thing we saw as a coaching staff was the team's desire to want to win and not roll over. They very well could have done that being that it was the last game of the season and knowing that we weren't going to the playoffs. But they didn't and decided that they wanted to win this last game and battle back and won."
ECHS jumped out quick on Choctaw and built a 14-2 lead by halftime. The first score came on a run by freshman running back DeMarcus Johnson. Freshman quarterback Micheal Thomas connected with senior receiver Chris Andrews for the second touchdown of the half.
A few mental mistakes allowed the home team to score two unanswered touchdown and go up 16-14 on the Blue Devils.
"We played pretty well," Davis said. "We went in at the half up 14-2 and came out in the second half and we made a couple of bad decisions that allowed them to go up on us. We battled back and was able to pull off the win."
Escambia County was able to retake a 21-16 lead later in the game when Johnson danced his way back into the end zone for the second time in the game. It wasn't long before Choctaw took the lead back and went up 22-21.
Senior quarterback Calvin Hartley, who was injured two weeks ago, saw some playing time and ended his career with a pass to senior Darrell Stephens to give his team the lead back for good, 28-22. Junior linebacker Brandon McKenzie sealed the deal for the Blue Devils late in the game with an interception return for a touchdown.
Davis believes the difference in the Choctaw game compared to the last two losses is that his team was confident going into the contest.
"I feel like we felt like we could win," Davis said. "If we go into a ballgame and we think we can win we're going to play well. If we go in thinking we can't, we're going to play bad. That's who we were and not who we're going to be in the future. We're working on building up confidence in our players. It doesn't matter if we play Choctaw County or the Chicago Bears, I want our kids to go into the game thinking they can win and playing the best they can. We want them to have that kind of desire. We're going to instill that into our kids. It's going to take a year or a year and half, but that's where I want to be when we step back on the field next August."
As for the season, Davis believes it was a good rebuilding year.
"If you count the Georgiana game we won four games this season and that's one more than last year," he said. "We're hoping to build on that and improve next season. We're going to get back to work after a week off and start our off-season program; stay on the weights and on a speed program. Hopefully we can start next season with a goal of winning six or seven ballgames."
The Blue Devils ended their season 3-6.

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