Blue Devils blitz Eagles
By By Matthew Nascone
The Escambia County High School football team's defense surged in the second half of their 26-14 victory over the W.S. Neal Eagles in East Brewton Friday night.
The Blue Devils (2-0, 1-0 in Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 4A Region 1 play) allowed no points and only three first downs in the second half after allowing 14 points in the first half.
"I can't say enough about the defensive effort in this game," ECHS head coach Kyle Davis said. "They played tough and did not allow a score in the second half. Coach (Robert) Smith and the other defensive coaches got these kids ready to play and they stepped up when they needed to. It was a big win and it is always good to get the first region win."
LaTrenton Bowens and Brandon McKenzie led the charge as Bowens led the team with 13 tackles and McKenzie added five tackles with three sacks. LaVelt Hale had eight tackles and Skyler Lindsey recorded six tackles.
"Brandon just kills people out there," Davis said.
Atmore jumped out to an early lead after McKenzie caused a fumble in the first quarter and DeMarcus Johnson ran the ball in from 12 yards out for the touchdown and 7-0 Big Blue lead following the Elliot Faircloth PAT.
Johnson finished the evening with eight carries for 48 yards and one touchdown.
Neal scored halfway through the second quarter to knot the score at 7-7. They scored again near the end of the half to take the lead 14-7, but ECHS struck right back on a five-yard touchdown run by Michael Thomas. The PAT was blocked and the score at the half was 14-13 for W.S. Neal.
Thomas scored two touchdowns in the second half to seal the Blue Devil victory. He hit Josh McCants for a touchdown pass with four minutes left in the third quarter and he rushed the ball in from the one-yard line for another score for the final of 26-13.
"We were able to move the football in the third quarter and we went conservative," Davis said. "We just wanted to eat the clock."
Thomas recorded 150 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 20 carries and was 9-for-15 through the air with 107 yards and one touchdown. And McCants caught three balls for 51 yards and one touchdown.
"I don't know how he does what he does," Davis said. "But the thing about Michael is he is a competitor and he wants the ball in his hands on every play. And when he makes mistakes we have to make sure to tell him to stay with it and get it on the next play."
Thomas racked up 257 yards of ECHS's 321 total offensive yards.
Big Blue hosts the rival T.R. Miller Tigers in Herbert Barnes Stadium Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.