Devils take first steps under Holly

Published 9:27 pm Monday, May 21, 2012

ECHS quarterback Chris Johnson outruns Linden defenders Saturday night in East Brewton.

The scores in two contests at W.S. Neal High School went against the Escambia County Blue Devils Saturday night, but the outlook for next season’s squad was not all bad.

Even with the losses to W.S. Neal and Linden, Blue Devils Head Football Coach Lev Holly found things he liked about the team he took over just more than a week ago.

No matter the score, the competitive attitude was something that jumped to Holly’s attention.

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“I think the kids competed like I wanted them to,” he said. “The effort was great and they had an understanding of how we are going to do things. They see how we want to be disciplined and be first class win or lose. I saw a lot of people stepping up and showing commitment to what we want to do.”

In the first game of the jamboree, the Blue Devils battled for two quarters with the Linden Patriots and even struck first on the scoreboard.

Blue Devils quarterback Chris Johnson scrambled in from eight yards out to give ECHS a 6-0 lead.

The Patriots rebounded late in the second quarter though with two touchdowns of their own. The second score came with less than 30 seconds left, as the Patriots took the lead on a deep pass, which was the same way they edged out the Eagles by the same score of 12-6.

Escambia County had a tougher out in the second game of the jamboree facing the Eagles of W.S. Neal.

The Eagles scored early in the first quarter and never looked back running to a 16-0 shutout of the Blue Devils.

Both opponents of the Blue Devils were impressive to Holly much like his team was.

“W.S. Neal and Linden looked good,” he said. “My hats off to those teams, but I think that Escambia County High School looked great and I think the future is bright.”

With the game now behind them, the Blue Devils will now turn their focus to the summer.

Making sure that the commitment is there will be something Holly said he is going to look for quickly.

“Going into the summer, it’s going to be real easy to make sure we do things right,” he said. “Like I told them, my biggest question is the commitment level. I want to see how committed they are this summer, I have no doubts that they will be. I applaud our older and younger guys for playing hard.”

Once the commitment is found, finding ways to improve the team will become priority.

Learning the system and getting in better shape are the first steps, Holly said.

“The biggest focus will be learning what we are doing,” he said. “I want them paying attention to detail when we work. Also, the work in the weight room will be important. I want them getting stronger and more conditioned. When we play this fall, I want them to be the most physical team on the field and the team in the best shape.”