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Blue Devils accomplish goal

In a split-squad matchup between the varsity and junior varsity teams of Escambia County High School and Robertsdale High School, the varsity Blue Devils were able to defeat the Golden Bears 6-0 in Robertsdale.

The Blue Devils waited until the final minutes of the fourth quarter to punch in their touchdown, but they scored using a pounding running game.

Along with the success of the running game, the Blue Devils were able to achieve the main goal set by their new head coach Mark Heaton.

Heaton said he was pleased with the way his players came together in the spring game.

“I was pleased with our effort as a team,” Heaton said. “My goal from the beginning of spring practice was to get them to work as a team, and they accomplished that.”

Another successful aspect for the Blue Devils was the way they handled themselves on the field.

Heaton said he was proud of his team’s character before, during and after the game.

“I’m proud of my team for the way they conducted themselves as young men on that field,” Heaton said. “We talked about it before the game, how we would display our character. They played with a lot of class and intensity.”

Offensively, there were ups and downs for the Blue Devils during the course of the contest.

The running game emerged as an immiediate plus, but some fundamental errors were seen.

Heaton said the ground game was a force that ECHS used to control the line of scrimmage.

“I think the way we ran the ball was great,” Heaton said. “We established the line of scrimmage well for the most part of the game. We ran the clock down and dominated physically. On the other hand, there were were some erros fundamentally that didn’t allow us to explode offensively, but that’s expected when you have eight days of practice.”

From a defensive standpoint, Heaton saw a lot of promise at all positions.

Heaton said he saw guys flying to the ball and making sure to play with intensity.

“Our defense played with a great deal of tenacity,” Heaton said. “If there is a bright spot on this team, it’s the defense. They got after it and created some turnovers and got some big sacks too. I saw that we can be successful on defense year in and year out.”

Coming out of spring practice, the Blue Devils have a better understanding of their coach and his system.

In Heaton’s eyes, the Blue Devils have the potential to be talented and successful.

Heaton said with the right work ethic, his team will be solid.

“The potential is there,” Heaton said. “If they come to work this summer and do what we ask of them then this will be a solid football team.”

Escambia County Blue Devils running back Nieko Wilkson runs the ball during last Friday’s spring game against the Robertsdale Golden Bears in Robertsdale. | Photo by Chandler Myers