Come support the Big Blue

Published 1:37 pm Wednesday, November 7, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
Believe it or not, football season is already over. But for the first time in 14 years, athletes at Escambia County High School are not preparing to travel out of town to compete in a playoff game or hanging up their cleats and hitting the hard court after a disappointing season.
It's been more than a decade since the Blue Devils have hosted a home playoff game, but Friday night the Big Blue's faithful will be rewarded with a state playoff game in their own backyard.
Some of you reading this column may or may not know how important this game is to the community. ECHS has several Saturday hopefuls on this year's squad and the further the team makes it in the playoffs, the more opportunities those players will have to continue adding to their statistics. Not only that, but the players and the coaching staff have worked extremely hard this season, overcoming several obstacles and dodging critics as they fought tooth and nail for a 7-3 record and a Class 4A, Region 1 runner-up spot.
After three years, Coach Kyle Davis and his staff have turned a mediocre football team into a winning ball club with the potential to be a state contender a few more years down the road. For now, it's one game at a time, but support from the community is a must.
After working as sports editor in the Birmingham area for six years, playoff games were like the sun coming up; every day the sun comes up and every November a majority of the teams were playoff bound. Not all the time were the teams in the playoffs the best on the field, but they had a lot of support from fans in their community. Home or away, a huge crowd was a guarantee in November. The early sunsets and the cool evenings is the perfect setting for playoff football and a reminder to those fans that may not have attended one regular season home game to grab their seat cushion and jacket and head to the game.
Not only are playoff games good for the schools and athletic clubs participating, but also they are good for the community. The games bring in out-of-town fans following their respective schools that fill up their gas tanks in town, eat before and after the game and depending on the distance the team has to travel they possibly would opt to stay in local hotels. So don't think that the gate and concessions money is the only funds generated through postseason play.
This week's game should be a sellout crowd without a doubt. Unfortunately, there are doubts. Elmore County isn't an archrival like T.R. Miller or W.S. Neal, games that generate huge fan support, but this season, the Panthers are more important, they stand in the way of Atmore and a state championship.
So all citizens of Atmore – local businessmen and women, retirees, elected officials and young and old alike – you need to clear your calendar for Friday night. It's playoff time in Atmore, words that haven't been spoken since 1993. You don't want to miss it.
Adam Prestridge is publisher of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123.

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