Blue Devils lose nail biter to Faith
By By Chandler Myers
Hearts sank as the football bounced out of Blue Devils running back Michael Thomas’ hands and was scooped up by a Faith Academy defenseman. The fumble was returned 73 yards for a touchdown in Friday nights disappointing 20-14 loss.
The Escambia County Blue Devils (0-3, 0-2) fell behind early, but never stopped fighting.
After punting on their first series, the Blue Devils defense gave up a 39-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the Rams’ offensive series to take the lead early 7-0.
After Faith (2-1,1-1) scored, both offenses began a stalemate of moving the ball and then punting.
Faith Academy head coach Robby James said both defenses played well, but the offenses just could not keep the ball in their hands.
The Blue Devil offense began to show some spark in the second quarter as senior running back Michael Thomas broke out into the open field with runs of 17, 10 and five yards.
Thomas rushed for 104 yards on the night with a touchdown and three receptions for 50 yards.
After halftime, the Rams came out with an offensive drive that resembled their first of the night as they drove 68 yards and scored on a breakout 23 yard run by their running back and jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
The Rams then stopped the Blue Devil offense again but were forced to punt on their offensive series.
Sophomore quarterback Rico Stallworth and Thomas put together an offensive drive of 52 yards capped off with a Thomas touchdown.
Stallworth completed 6-of-18 passes for 44 yards and ran the ball 17 times for 77 yards.
The drive started with a pass from Stallworth to Thomas for a 14 yard pickup, followed by Thomas running the ball for four yards, Stallworth carrying the ball three yards, back-to-back runs by Thomas for three and five yards, a 19-yard connection from Stallworth to Thomas and a four-yard touchdown run with Thomas dragging a defender into the endzone with him. The extra point was missed as the Blue Devils narrowed the score 14-6 in the third quarter.
Blue Devils’ head coach Kyle Davis said the offense started to click after coming back from halftime, but just could not keep consistency when they had the ball.
On the following possession, the Blue Devils got a charge of momentum on defense and forced the Rams into a three and out. On fourth down, a host of Blue Devils made their way to the punter and blocked the punt into the endzone. After the ball bounced three or four different directions it stopped long enough for a Blue Devil to dive on it for another touchdown and brought the score even closer to 14-12.
Davis said that the Blue Devil defense played great against the Rams and they prevented opportunities for the offense to capitalize on.
He added that Nate Davis and DeMarco Montgomery were key players for the defense.
The Rams night seem to get worse as on their next possession, seeming as if a replay was being shown with a three and out and a blocked punt on fourth down.
The ECHS offense was stalled on their series and gave the ball over on downs, but got it back two plays later as the Rams fumbled and the Blue Devils got the ball back on the Ram 29 yard line.
Thomas opened the door for the Blue Devils again as he broke runs of 10, seven, five and three yards to put the ball on the Ram 1 yard line with just over three-minutes to go in the game. The drive stalled and it looked like luck was running out for ECHS.
On the first play of the Rams drive, the defense stepped up again and kept the Rams running back from making it out of the end zone and scored a safety and tied the game 14-14.
It seemed as if the Blue Devils were going to march down the field and score after the Rams’ free kick.
Stallworth completed a rocket-like pass to Thomas for 17 yards, but on the next play, an option pitch bounced off Thomas’ fingertips and was returned the opposite way for a touchdown to make the final score 20-14.
Davis said the loss was disappointing for the Blue Devils because they worked hard all week long to prepare for the game.