Blue Devils win 32-7
By By Chandler Myers
Escambia County came out swinging in their jamboree game in what looked like all of their anger lashing out over last year’s 3-7 season in route to picking up a 32-7 victory over the W.S. Neal Eagles Thursday night at Herbert Barnes Stadium.
The contest started out as a battle of defenses with the each team’s first series resulting in punts with the Blue Devils defense choking out the Eagles’ first two series.
Escambia County’s offense sparked to life in the middle of the second quarter as junior quarterback Rico Stallworth ran the ball 42 yards on first down. Two plays later it was Stallworth again this time through the air as he whipped a pass to senior wide receiver Denard Stephens on a slant route, which Stephens took 29 yards to the endzone to put the Blue Devils up 6-0 after a missed extra point.
Blue Devils head coach Kyle Davis said Stallworth’s on-field intelligence is what resulted in the points.
After the score, Neal coughed up a fumble that was easily recovered by a Blue Devils lineman who ran out the clock and took a 6-0 lead into halftime.
With the beginning of the second half, it looked as if both teams would play a back-and-forth game with both teams having to punt, but Escambia County showed that they would control the tempo of the game on the ground.
On their second series of the half, the Blue Devils moved the ball quickly picking up yardage on the ground.
Five plays is all it took for the home team to find its way to the endzone again as sophomore running back Neiko Wilkson started the series with a 12-yard run from scrimmage.
That play was followed by a gain of 17 by Stallworth, an eight-yard pass to Wilkson followed by two more runs of 15 and 10 yards by Stallworth put the Blue Devils’ lead at 12.
Three plays later, and the defense stepped up as senior linebacker Bryant Chambers intercepted a pass by Neal’s quarterback, Dylan Godwin, and took it back 35 yards for the score to give Escambia County an 18-point lead.
(Aside from the interception, defense was a strong point for the Blue Devils as they held W.S. Neal to a total of 96 yards.)
Davis said the defense came out and did what it was always does by playing football.
The end of the third quarter was another offensive show by the Blue Devils as senior running back Michael Mitchell picked up 59 yards on four carries and a touchdown to put Escambia County up 25-0.
Escambia County picked up their largest lead of the night at halfway mark of the fourth quarter when Rayvon Madison took a hand off from Stallworth around the right end and scrambled 21 yards through defenders to give his team a 32-0 lead.
Neal finally put points on the board towards the end of the game with running back Jeremy Nicholson scoring on a 20-yard run.
The game relieved some comedy on the extra point as the kicker put not only the football, but his shoe through the uprights as well.
New Blue Devils announcer Ray Greer got the laugh of the night as he said, “The extra point is good, but they should give him two points for the shoe.”
After Neal’s touchdown, the teams slowly ran down the rest of the clock to end the game.
After the game, Davis said the win was a great way to start off the football season.
Next, Escambia County travels to Brewton to take on their rivals, the T.R. Miller Tigers.
Davis said that the Miller game is a huge game that is always a great way to start out the year.
Escambia County and Miller kickoff next Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Brewton.