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Hosting playoffs, goal for Devils

By By Matthew Nascone
After a crushing defeat to the No. 3 Thomasville Tigers in what was basically the Class 4A, Region 1 championship game Friday night, the Escambia County Blue Devils must set their sights on their next goal, hosting a game in the first round of the AHSAA playoffs.
"We had a lot riding on that game (against Thomasville)," ECHS head coach Kyle Davis said. "And it was a tough defeat for us because we were in the game for a long time and then the wheels just came off. It was an emotional letdown, but we want to start our second season with this Monroe game and push towards an 8-2 record and a home playoff game."
Davis said Monroe is not the same caliber team as Thomasville, but his team cannot think about the game as a gimme.
"We need to have the same mentality we have had for the first seven games of the season," he said. "We need to respect them as a team that could beat us and we need to win this game and get geared up for the playoffs. They have not won a region game, so I know they would love to beat the team who is sitting in second place in the region. They are in position to play spoiler and we cannot let them do that."
With a win the Blue Devils would clinch second place in the region and a home playoff game. The idea of hosting a playoff game is huge for the Atmore faithful.
"Hosting a playoff game is something this school has not done in a while," Davis said. "I believe the last time that happened was in the early '90s."
But to win the game, Davis said his team needs to continue to play hard.
"We need to have the same intensity on the field," he said. "Our offense has played good the past three weeks and we need that to continue and our defense needs to put the Thomasville game behind them and move forward. Yeah, we got gutted, but bad things will happen and we need to continue to work hard and I know these guys will do just that. And we had a good day at practice Monday, so things are looking good."
Kickoff is set for Friday at 7 p.m. in Monroeville.