ECHS to tangle with Tigers

Published 9:31 am Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Escambia County travels to the belly of the beast this week to take on the No. 2 team in Class 4A when they travel to Thomasville Friday night to take on their region foes the Thomasville Tigers.

The Blue Devils (4-1, 2-1) will look to unseat one of the strongest teams in the region and state in the undefeated Tigers (5-0, 3-0).

ECHS is 1-1 against opponents ranked in the Top 10 this season defeating T.R. Miller 35-34 in overtime at Herbert Barnes Stadium on Aug. 27 and falling 31-6 to the UMS-Wright Bulldogs on Sept. 10 in Mobile, but will look to improve that record to 2-1 this week.

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Going on the road is never easy, but Blue Devils head coach Mark Heaton said his team’s 28-17 win at Faith Academy last week was a good measuring stick.

“I thought we played well on the road last week,” Heaton said. “It was a good test for us, we had to fight through adversity, and the kids did a great job of overcoming the obstacles that they faced.”

It will be different for the Blue Devils this week when they travel due to the caliber of the talent they will be taking on.

Heaton said this week’s game features a school with a lot of tradition.

“Going on the road is tough, playing a top-ranked team is tough, but we are prepared to have a chance to get a win. They are a great team with a great coaching staff and a lot of tradition. It’s a great opportunity.”

In order to get a victory at Thomasville, the Blue Devils must focus on execution and avoiding mistakes.

Heaton said nailing down fundamentals will be key to winning the game.

“We have to play assignment football,” Heaton said. “We don’t believe in trickery or gimmick stuff. We just have to play fundamentally sound football. If we can do that then everything will come together.”

Stopping Thomasville’s running game is factor that the Blue Devils defense has to be ready for.

Heaton said Thomasville will bring their running attack right at them in order to not have to pass.

“They are going to line it up and run right us,” Heaton said. “If they don’t have to throw the ball then they won’t. Assignment-wise our defensive front is key, so it will be important for our defensive lineman to make the right reads and help get our linebackers in position to make plays.”

Picking up a victory would do a lot for a program looking to make it to the playoffs as well as gain credibility in their region.

Heaton said no matter the outcome he just wants his team to give their all.

“Regardless of whether we win or lose, I just want our guys to play them down to the final second,” Heaton said. “Having the chance to play Thomasville is a tremendous opportunity and will be great for both teams. If we have the chance to win, it will probably come down the last second, but we just have to focus on finishing our assignments.”

The Blue Devils and Tigers kick off Friday night at 7 p.m. in Thomasville.

ECHS running back Demetric Henderson drags a W.S. Neal defender in the Blue Devils’ win against the Blue Eagles on Sept. 17.|Photo by Adam Prestridge