Blue Devils back on track
By By Matthew Nascone
The Escambia County Blue Devil defense returned to its nasty form on the road against Hillcrest-Evergreen in a regional showdown. The Blue Devils won in decisive fashion 26-2.
"The defense played excellent tonight," ECHS head coach Kyle Davis said. "They shut the other team down."
ECHS (3-1, 2-1 in AHSAA Class 4A Region 1 play) did not have the same crisp play on the offensive side of the ball, turning the ball over four times. This kind of play is that Davis said the team needs to get away from.
"It is not good to have 17 turnovers in your first four games," he said. "And having four in this game is not too good either. But we did regroup in the second half and put some good drives together."
Sophomore quarterback Michael Thomas opened the scoring with a 12-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. A PAT conversion from junior place kicker Elliot Faircloth made it 7-0 Blue Devils.
Thomas threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver LaVelt Hale and ECHS went up 14-2. And that is where the teams stood at halftime.
Thomas scored again in the third quarter on a one-yard quarterback keeper for 20-2 score after a blocked PAT. Before running the rock in, Thomas connected with senior wide receiver Kevin Green on a 52-yard strike to get to the Hillcrest one yard line. Demetrius Bankston ended the scoring with a three-yard touchdown run set up by a 35-yard reception by Johnathan McCants from Thomas.
The tenacity of the Blue Devil defense showed through all game.
"What can you say about their effort," Davis said. "I mean Hillcrest had two opportunities from within the red zone and they came away with nothing. Our defense controlled the ball all game and they were real physical.
Up next for the Blue Devils is a 7 p.m. meeting with Saint Paul's Sept. 29 on the road.