Devils tangle with Toros
By By Adam Prestridge
The first quarter did the Escambia County Blue Devils in Friday night as the Spanish Fort Toros scored 28 points in the opening stanza and held on to the lead to claim a 28-13 win at Herbert Barnes Stadium.
The Blue Devils (0-4, 0-2) managed to keep the visitors out of the end zone throughout the remaining three quarters of play and came close to adding more points on the scoreboard on several occasions, but came up short in the Class 5A, Region 1 battle.
ECHS head coach Kyle Davis said offensively his team got off to a rough start.
The Toros scored early in first quarter on a two-yard run. The point after kick gave the visitors a 7-0 lead with 9:46 remaining.
Five plays later, the Toros had the ball again and pulled a rabbit out of the hat with a halfback pass for 68 yards and the score. The kick gave Spanish Fort a 14-0 lead.
ECHS was forced to punt on the ensuing drive, but the Toros’ defense broke through to block the kick and ran it back for a score. With just over five minutes to play, the Blue Devils faced a 21-0 deficit.
Spanish Fort managed another score on its next drive, this time on a six-yard run with 36.7 seconds remaining in the quarter. The kick put the Toros up 28-0 at the end of the first.
Davis said the Toros’ play up front made the difference in the ballgame.
“I think this is really one of the first times we’ve been outmatched up front,” he said. “It wasn’t anything that we were bad, they just beat us up front. They are a lot quicker than we are up front and we weren’t able to sit back in the pocket and throw the football.”
Neither team managed to score in the second quarter giving the visitors a 28-point cushion heading into the locker room at halftime.
The Blue Devils did not tuck their tails and run in the second half and managed to score twice, while their defense kept Spanish Forts offense out of the end zone. The first score came with 11:22 remaining in the game when senior running back Michael Thomas, who was in under center replacing injured sophomore starting quarterback Rico Stallworth, connected with junior Jon Dean on a 19-yard pass. The point after kick cut into the Toros lead, 28-7.
Stallworth was forced to leave the game after he dislocated his elbow late in the third quarter.
Thomas scored on a 13-yard run with just 41.9 seconds remaining in the game to give ECHS another score. The PAT was no good resulting in the final outcome, 28-13.
Davis said he was proud of his team’s effort in the final three quarters of play after giving up four early scores. He believes if his team continues to fight, a win is on the horizon.
Junior defensive backs Rayvon Madison and Michael “Tank” Mitchell and sophomore defensive back Marshall Rolin led the Blue Devils’ defense with one interception each.
The Blue Devils will take on Class 6A Baldwin County High School in a renewed rivalry game next Friday.
Kickoff for the road game is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Bay Minette.