Trojans will test Devils’ mettle

Published 9:40 am Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Everything that the Escambia County Blue Devils have learned and worked on during spring training will be put to the test on Saturday when the take on the defending 6A state champion Daphne Trojans in Daphne.

The Blue Devils will see just where they stand when it comes to taking on top competition, but will use the game to see what needs to be worked on prior to this fall.

Blue Devils head coach Mark Heaton said his team will have its hands full against Daphne.

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“They are the defending 6A champs and have a great program,” he said. “We are excited about the opportunity to be able to go down there and play them. It will give us a good idea of the major work that we will need to go into the summer with and let us know where we need the most improvement. That’s what you get when you face a program of their caliber.”

With the defending champs in waiting, the Blue Devils have spent the last three weeks going over drills and schemes to make sure they are prepared for the game.

Along with practice, coaches have been making sure each player has been giving his schoolwork the right attention to insure everyone finishes the year strong.

Heaton said keeping the players focused on both tasks has been the team’s goal.

“We are just trying to make sure we are sharp on all of the schemes that we have implemented,” he said. “We really kept everything watered down this spring to make sure what we do put in, we learn and are really sharp at it. Our main focus has just been to keep the guys focused on finishing this year strong in the classroom. We don’t want any kind of bad decisions to be made this late in the year.”

The Blue Devils defensive front will be put to the test against the Trojans who will bring a running game to the match up.

Heaton said that he expects to see a power run from his opponent, along with some different sets they might show.

“Daphne’s going to have a power run game and they’ll do some play action passes,” he said. “They will also show some multiple sets. They will be pretty watered down like we will. Everyone keeps stuff pretty basic to make sure that as many players as possible get reps in.”

Defensively, the Blue Devils will be familiar with the defense their offense will be going up against with it being the same formation.

Heaton said that there will be some different wrinkles in their defense that will test his offense.

“On defense, they will be similar to what we do with a 3-4 formation,” he said. “They have a couple different looks that we’ll see, but it’s going to be a good test for us to measure.”

When all is said and done, the coaching staff for ECHS wants to see what questions can be answered by the game.

Heaton said he wants his players to give it their all and show that they can help his program.

“We just want to see our kids play hard every snap,” he said. “We want to see our guys do everything that we worked on sharp and fundamentally sound. At the same time, we want to get a good look at these guys who don’t have a lot of experience. That will help us see where we need help and who can fill the voids from the guys we lost in the graduating class.”

Kickoff for the game will be at 6 p.m. on Saturday in Daphne.