ECHS delivers win

Published 9:25 am Monday, September 26, 2011

Escambia County Blue Devils Devontae Walker (back) and Tyler Nero (right) knock Faith Academy quarterback Ela Rosier out of bounds late in the fourth quarter of the Blue Devils’ 27-21 win over Faith Academy. The Blue Devils scored with seven seconds left in the game to go ahead for the win.|Photo by AJ Beachy

Escambia County High School won in heart-stopping fashion Friday night as they scored to take the lead 27-21 over Faith Academy with seven seconds left in the game.

The Blue Devils (3-2, 2-1) led for a majority of the game before the Rams (1-4, 1-2) scored to tie the game with just under 40 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter.

Escambia County then went into their two-minute offense and the Chris Johnson to Derrick Williams connection that had worked well throughout the game proved to be important for two plays as the two Blue Devils connected on two passes including the winning 10-yard touchdown pass.

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Blue Devils head coach Mark Heaton said the winning pass made him proud of the execution of his offense.

“That was a great job by our offense to get in that two-minute situation and drive the ball down and score,” he said. “That’s huge and says a lot about their character and fight.”

Thirty seconds prior to that play, the Faith Academy Rams had driven down the clock as they drove 83 yards to tie the game at 21, hoping to force overtime.

The events leading up to the final game-tying and game-winning drives were a battle between the opponents in the inter-class match up.

The Blue Devils got on the board first in the first quarter as Markiece Daughtry intercepted a Rams pass and took it to the Faith 19-yard line. Five plays later, Johnson scampered in from nine yards out to put the Blue Devils ahead 7-0.

The lead did not last long as the Rams moved into their power run game and pushed down the field in an 11-play 64-yard drive. Rams running back Cameron Westry put in the tying score as he ran in from nine-yards out.

The teams would trade series back-and-forth halfway into the second quarter before any one would make it back to the end zone.

Escambia County would reach pay dirt first as they got the ball on their own 46 and moved down the field in four plays. The big play came on a 45-yard pass from Johnson to Tyjustine Brown that set ECHS up with a first-and-goal from the nine. Johnson then ran in his second touchdown of the game this time from six yards out to put ECHS up 14-7, which is where the score would be as the game broke for halftime.

After halftime, the Blue Devils would take their first series and turn it into a touchdown.

On the nine-play drive, the Blue Devils would drive 46-yards to go ahead 21-7. On the touchdown, Johnson hit DeAndre Riley on a 10-yard slant.

The momentum then took a big swing in the direction of the Rams as they scored on their first series of the third quarter. The touchdown came on the first play with Westry busting loose for 68 yards to pull his team within seven points.

The Rams then tied the game at 21 with a pass from quarterback Ela Rosier to receiver Reginald Jackson giving them hope for overtime with 37 seconds left.

The Blue Devils then moved into their hurry-up offense and pushed down the field for the game winning connection from Johnson to Williams.

Despite the success at the end, Heaton said he still saw issues that must be corrected.

“We work on it every week,” he said. “It’s what we end practice with. We still have to do a better job of executing things, so we don’t have to rely on that. We had several opportunities, but we didn’t convert. We have to fix that before we play Thomasville.”

The Blue Devils next host Thomasville at Herbert Barnes Stadium next Friday. Kick off is at 7 p.m.