Devils singe Tigers

Published 9:56 am Monday, September 17, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
A handful of the players on the visitor's sideline Friday night in Brewton weren't born the last time Escambia County High School defeated T.R. Miller. In fact, the senior class was only three at the time.
The Blue Devils (3-0, 2-0) finally defeated archrival T.R. Miller for the first victory in 15 years with a 10-2 win on their home turf, a win ECHS head coach Kyle Davis chalked up as the biggest of his career.
"I don't think it gets any better than this," Davis said. "This community has waited a long time, these kids have waited a long time and these fans have waited a long time to finally get this win. Even better, we're 2-0 in the region right now and we've got Hillcrest-Evergreen coming to our place next week giving us a chance to be 3-0 at the region break. It's just a real big thing for us. I'm glad for the folks of Atmore, it was a long time coming."
T.R. Miller head coach Jamie Riggs had little to say following the loss, but did offer the Blue Devils words of advise.
"I thought we gave a really gutsy performance," he said. "We're a little shorthanded right now, but we'll be better off in the future. My suggestion is Escambia County needs to beat T.R. Miller while they can."
The last time the Blue Devils defeated the Tigers was in 1992. But Friday night's win over Miller wasn't a cakewalk for ECHS.
"This is the biggest win I've ever had," Davis said. "Bigger than the first win I ever had. Coach Riggs is one of the greatest coaches in high school football and his team is one of the most disciplined teams we'll play and is physical. They weren't going to give it to us tonight; we had to take it from them. It was a big win versus a worthy opponent."
The first quarter of the contest was a defensive struggle as both defenses kept their opponent out of the end zone. Escambia County did get into scoring position on their first possession of the game. Senior place kicker Elliot Faircloth attempted a 39-yard field goal that had the distance, but sailed wide left.
On their second possession of the second quarter, the Blue Devils lit up the scoreboard as senior running back Katral James bulled his way into the end zone from 12 yards out. Faircloth's PAT was good giving the visitor's the edge, 7-0 with 6:47 to go in the half.
Two possessions later Escambia County scored again when Faircloth split the uprights with a 24-yard field goal padding the Devils' lead, 10-0 with 13.3 seconds remaining until halftime.
T.R. Miller managed to get on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter and prevent the shutout, sacking freshman quarterback Ricco Stallworth for a safety.
The Tigers prowled for the end zone three times over the course of the contest, but junior defensive back Cody Sprinkle ended all three scoring threats with interceptions. Sprinkle's first pick came on Miller's first drive of the game. He followed that interception up with one in the second quarter and one late in the fourth quarter preventing a possible tie.
"He's dropped some interceptions this year and we've given him a hard time, but my gosh he answered back with three interceptions in the game," Davis said. "We've called him stone hands in practice, but he came through for us tonight with a big game."
Davis also credited his defense with another solid performance. The Blue Devils' "D" held the Tigers to a mere 71 yards of total offense.
"We keep doing the same thing we've done all year," Davis said. "We've played solid defense and offensely we stuttered a little bit, but we did what we needed to do to win. We never really put the defense in a bad position and they stepped up and played well. I am so proud of these kids, it's unbelievable right now."
Senior Jarrod Jefferson and junior Eric Coley led the Blue Devils' defense with six tackles each. Sprinkle added two tackles and three interceptions and senior Josh McCants recovered a fumble.
Stallworth led Escambia County's offensive surge with 25 carries for 113 yards. James toted the ball 15 times for 75 yards and scored the Devils' lone touchdown. Stallworth was also 5 of 18 passing for 61 yards connecting with McCants twice for 29 yards.
The Blue Devils will host Hillcrest-Evergreen Friday night in a region battle. Davis said the game could be tough bouncing off such a huge win.
"They are probably the most dangerous opponent we're going to play," he said. "Coming off this big win, we're on top of the world and we're playing a team that has been down for a couple of years that has a lot of talent and a lot of speed. If we fool around, they'll beat us. We've got to come to play next week."

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