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Blue Devils optimistic

By By Adam Prestridge
The football season couldn’t get here any sooner for the members of the Escambia County High School football team and coaching staff.
After Friday night’s 13-7 loss to Class 6A Robertsdale in their spring jamboree game on the road, the Blue Devils, who make the move up from 4A to 5A this season, are optimistic.
Several players were sidelined due to injury and various other reasons including All-State senior defensive back Cody Sprinkle, sophomore lineman Brett Wilkins, junior lineman Devante Brown and junior receivers Kingston Craft and Ravon Madison.
Davis attributed the team’s success Friday night to the players’ teamwork. He said several players have taken on new roles on the team and each of them embraced their positions.
The game proved to be a defensive battle as both the Blue Devils and the Golden Bears defense stepped up on numerous occasions to keep the game tight throughout the contest. Neither team scored in the first 16 minutes of the game until Robertsdale senior running back Jamar Carter broke loose for an 80-yard run breaking the scoreless tie. Sophomore place kicker Colby Norman split the uprights giving the Golden Bears a 7-0 advantage.
Carter bulled his way into the end zone from eight yards out with 37.2 seconds remaining in the half on Robertsdale’s ensuing drive. The touchdown capped off a four-play, 75-yard drive highlighted by a 53-yard pass from senior quarterback Rick Owsley. The PAT was no good giving RHS a 13-0 lead at halftime.
The Blue Devils came out hitting hard in the second half, led by sophomore quarterback Rico Stallworth and senior running back Michael Thomas. ECHS put its first touchdown of the night on the scoreboard with 9:24 left in the fourth quarter when senior running back Mark Hale danced into the end zone from 10 yards out. Freshman Nieko Williams’ extra point kick was good putting the Blue Devils to within six points, 13-7.
Escambia County threatened to score late in the game, but a fumble ended the drive, which featured a 49-yard pass from Stallworth to Thomas.
Despite the outcome of the game, Davis was pleased with his coaching staff’s efforts in utilizing their resources.
Again, the Blue Devils will be a young team this coming season, but that’s not an unusual obstacle for the ECHS coaching staff.
The spring jamboree game marked the end of the Blue Devils’ two-week spring training. Davis said the team will begin work soon on its summer workout program in preparation for the 2008 season.