Devils ready to hit

Published 8:32 pm Sunday, April 22, 2012

Two years have past since Mark Heaton was hired on as Escambia County High School’s head football coach, but now in his third spring practice, Heaton is still focused on putting his players on path to a championship.

The Blue Devils wrapped up their three days of mandatory conditioning Thursday, and now will turn their attention towards putting the pads on following their return from spring break.

Conditioning days are required by the state to help players that have not played any sports since the last football season, Heaton said.

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“This is a time that we must use to get our guys in shape specifically the ones who have not played spring sports,” he said. “We run them and make sure they are getting in football shape, so they can be able to handle the heat and work they will be put through. It went well and our guys responded, so now we turn our attention to running through full practices beginning May 1.”

Heaton is not the only person excited about putting pads on and getting into some action.

Brandon Brown, an offensive lineman for the Blue Devils, wants to help his team get started on working towards a successful season in 2012.

“It’s going to be awesome,” he said. “I can’t wait to get out there in pads and get started on working for a championship run.”

Brown has responded to Heaton’s style of coaching and admires what he does for the Blue Devils.

“I’ve learned that if you put your mind to it great things will happen,” he said. “We have a great coach, and he’s been good to us in everything. He’s taught me everything I know.”

The offensive line was an area of concern last season for ECHS with injuries hampering several starters, but Heaton sees promise for next season.

Brown is one of the players that the team will look to for leadership, Heaton said.

“Brandon is one of our veteran offensive lineman,” he said. “He is a great kid that displays impressive leadership, which is a reason we will rely on him throughout spring practice and next season.”

Also on the coach’s radar is a newcomer to the squad.

Montel Williams transferred in last semester from Alma Bryant, and will add depth to the Blue Devils’ secondary.

“Montel Williams is a new guy that came in last semester,” he said. “He is going to play safety for us, and will really help us in our secondary and we expect big things from him next season.”

The Blue Devils put on pads and begin practices on May 1.