Blue Devils want trip to Birmingham

Published 10:47 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Last season proved to be the most successful to date under Escambia County head coach Anthony Hayes as he took his team to the regional tournament in Mobile.

The Blue Devils season finished with a loss to the Andalusia Bulldogs, but this season could prove to be more successful that the last.
Despite losing key pieces to last season’s area championship team, the Blue Devils return several starters and role players, while adding to the roster with some newcomers.

With practices for the 2011-12 season underway, the Blue Devils are working towards putting a championship run together, Escambia County head coach Anthony Hayes said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“Practices have been going well,” he asid. “We have just about a completely  new team, but with the guys we have returning, we are in good shape. Our returners know what we want to do, and they want to go further than they did last year getting to Mobile.”

When looking at the Blue Devils, the strengths tend to be with how hungry they are.

Playing at a high level is the plus seen at practices, Hayes said.

“They are competitive,” he said. “Every practice is intense, and if we can bring that to the court every night then we have a shot to win a lot of ball games.”

With the loss of important pieces to last year’s puzzle, the Blue Devils are searching for players to fill important roles on the team.
Finding the proper players to become leaders is hurting the Blue Devils early in their preparations, Hayes said.

“Losing guys like Cedric Pierce, Tocorian Brown and Marshall Rolin is tough,” he said. “Losing leadership like that is hard to replace. We have to find some guys that are willing to step in and take on that role.”

In order to be in top shape for the season, the Blue Devils are treating their practices as they would their games.
Practicing with intensity to make games easier is how ECHS is treating their

“Just continue to work hard,”  he said. “They need to come in every day and compete with each other. We think if we can make our practices tougher than our games then we’ll be all right. We just need to keep that hard working mindset.”

With the goal of reaching Mobile again on the list, the Blue Devils want to add a trip to Birmingham to their list.

The goals for the season start small with county and area, but making it further than last year is important, Hayes said.

“It’s always the same for us,” he said. “Win the county tournament, try and win the area tournament and then get ready for the big dance. We just have to take each game on at a time.”

The Blue Devils kick off their season on Nov. 18 with a road game at Monroe County High School.