Blue Devils rising fast in state rankings

Published 8:17 pm Monday, January 9, 2006

By By Matthew Nascone
The Escambia County boy's basketball team has something to be proud of.
As of Jan. 4, the Blue Devils are No. 30 in the MaxPreps Alabama Boy's Basketball Rankings.
This poll includes all boy's basketball teams in the state, spanning Class 1A to Class 6A. With a 14-1 record at press time, Big Blue is catapulting up the rankings with a 14-game win streak following a loss to open the season.
ECHS head coach Jerome Antone said he knows it is special to be ranked.
"When your team is ranked in the Top 50 in the state that is great," Antone said. "I am happy for these guys, it is always about whether the guys are having fun or not and this team is having a lot of fun."
Antone also said the boy's have moved to No. 4 in the Alabama Sports Writers Association poll for Class 4A.
Antone said he would be preparing his guys one game at a time and he doesn't want them to think about it too much. He said when that happens then a team can get in trouble, but he added that this group of guys is levelheaded and will keep their mind on the task at hand.
That task is getting to Birmingham and winning the state championship, no matter what their ranking is at the end of the year.
Antone's assistant, Marshall Davis, said he also knows it doesn't matter what the rankings say when the tournament starts.
"It is good for the kids and the community," Davis said. "But everyone knows it is about how you finish the year."
Antone and Davis both said the Blue Devils hope to be in the Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham on March 4 as state champions. And they said they would do all they can to lead Escambia County basketball to the promised land of high school basketball and come home with a trophy for the community that has given the team undying support all year long.

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