Blue Devils thump Monroe

Published 1:24 pm Monday, October 25, 2010

Escambia County took an early lead Thursday night on the road and never let up as the Blue Devils cruised to a 35-14 victory over cross-county foe Monroe County.

With the win, ECHS was able to capture only its fifth winning season in nearly 25 years. Blue Devils head coach Mark Heaton, in only his first season, said the record is a testament of faith, dedication and hard work.

“It’s a huge accomplishment for these young men,” Heaton said. “God has been so good to us and has just blessed us. I want to thank Him, the staff and the kids for what we’ve accomplished here at Escambia County. Regardless of what year it is, we got it done and that’s huge.”

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Though at times, the Blue Devils (6-3, 4-3) appeared out of sync, Heaton believes his players did a good job capturing the win.

“We seemed a little flat,” Heaton said. “I told our kids at halftime that anytime you don’t have the chance to make big plays early and keep the tempo and intensity level high, it gets flat and starts getting sloppy. They played hard all night and I think we made some big plays, but we missed a lot and that kept us from really playing with a high level of intensity.”

Escambia County went into halftime with a commanding 21-0 lead led by its running attack and a stellar special teams play. The Blue Devils first scored early in the first quarter when freshman quarterback Chris Johnson shed numerous would-be tacklers on his way to a 16-yard touchdown. Midway through the second quarter, junior Demetric Henderson single handedly blocked a Tigers punt deep in Monroe territory and held on to the ball toting it 18 yards for the score. The last touchdown came with just over 30 second remaining in the half when senior quarterback Rico Stallworth dove in from five yards out for the touchdown. Junior place kicker Tyler Nero converted on all three point after kicks.

It took nearly all of the third quarter for ECHS to increase their lead when Johnson connected with Neiko Williams on a 41-yard touchdown. Nero added the point after making it 28-0.

During a penalty riddled fourth quarter, the Tigers managed two scores. The first came on a two-yard run by senior running Anthony McCall to make it 28-7 and the second on a five-yard scamper by senior Wayne Richardson to make it 35-14. The Blue Devils scored on the drive in between the two Tiger touchdowns when Johnson darted in from eight yards out. Nero’s extra point was good.

Heaton said playing on Thursday did not effect his team’s play during the contest.

“It’s football, you should be able to get up to play on Monday, Tuesday, whatever day it is,” Heaton said. “I told them that I was disappointed by the way we played Saraland, but I was not disappointed by the way we played tonight. I thought everybody played hard and we have some guys playing assignment football. We just didn’t make big plays early when we had the chance and that just slowed it down.”

As for the difference in the game, he said his team’s defensive play stood out.

“We had them outmanned a little bit and defensively we got after it early,” Heaton said. “The defense is playing so well right now. We’ve just got to get our offense more consistent and then we’ll be able to put a whole game together.”

Johnson proved to be the workhorse for the Blue Devils completing 8-of-13 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 61 yards on eight carries and two scores. Senior running back Chris Smith was the leading rusher with 50 yards on two carries.

Next week, Escambia County travels to Bay Minette to take on Baldwin County High School. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Blue Devils running back Chris Smith runs the ball against the Monroe County Tigers in Escambia County’s Thursday night victory.|Photo by Adam Prestridge