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Devils keeping score in '06

By By Matthew Nascone
When fans sit down in the bleachers of Herbert Barnes Stadium for the first Escambia County High School football game Sept. 1, the lights will be brighter. Not the lights from overheard, but the lights from the brand new scoreboard at the north end of the field.
"We have a brand new scoreboard and two brand new 25-second play clocks on our field this year," ECHS head coach Kyle Davis said. "They were donated to us from Pepsi and we are very grateful to have them."
The plan was to have the new amenities don the field last year for ECHS, but the terrible hurricane season delayed the project. Davis says the scoreboard and clocks are just part of the plan to revamp the stadium.
"These things have updated our facility and made it look nicer," he said. "This is just another step in the right direction for us. That has helped us show the community that we have pride here at ECHS. And we want to get where the whole community is proud of our team and our school."
Webb Nall, vice president of Pepsi Cola Bottling Company, said the company was proud to donate the new additions to the stadium.
"The Hooper Mathews Jr. family has always been very supportive of education and athletics in this area," Nall said. "We wanted to show our support for this renewed enthusiasm over at Escambia County High School and we wanted to help upgrade the facilities."
The stadium had a scoreboard in the past, but Davis said he was excited about the play clocks because it will help his team succeed this year.
"We are a young team and I think the clocks will be a benefit for us because we will be able to manage the clock a lot easier," he said.
Davis said the sign in front of the stadium, donated by Buck Powell, was also a way to improve the atmosphere around the stadium.
"We want to thank Mr. Powell for that sign," he said. "It helps us remember what ECHS has done in the past and gives us something to strive for."
And Davis said other improvements are in the works for the next few years.
"We want to have a welcome environment here for our fans as well as opposing team," Davis said.
The first phase of that improvement project is complete with the scoreboard, play clocks and welcome sign. Upcoming phases will include the repainting of the stadium and the installation of an irrigation system, but those are down the road a little bit.
"Rome was not built in a day, it took some time and it will take us some time, but we will get it all done," Davis said.