Devils struggle in jamboree

Published 6:02 pm Saturday, August 25, 2012

Running back Gordon Brooks turns the corner on a Spartan defender during ECHS’ preseason game Friday night against Saraland.

The Escambia County High School Blue Devils have some work to do before facing T.R. Miller in their home opener, after they endured a tough 37-0 shutout loss to Saraland High School in a preseason jamboree Friday night.  First-year head coach Lev Holly said his young team has a lot of work ahead of them, but he said Friday’s score did not reflect his team’s effort against the Spartans.  “I’m real proud of all my guys,” Holly said. “I think we were down like 17-0 at half-time, but that’s not reflective of how we played overall.”

Holly said his team showed sparks of momentum but were never able to morph those moments into sustained drives or solid defense.

“I think we had a couple of turnovers that went our way, but we had some penalties move the ball back. But overall, I think we did well,” he said.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Holly said his team will use this preseason setback to make them better in their home opener against the cross-county rival Tigers.

“I was proud of all my kids,” Holly said. “This is good thing to take from and say, ‘Hey, we know we’ve got a long ways to go, but we’re going to work.’ We know we have a chance to be a good football team. My kids have a lot of heart and we’re going to pick up and make it right.”

Holly said the jamboree with the Spartans did give his team a chance for most of the players to see on-field action.

“We got most of our players a chance to get in there,” Holly said. “We let them get in there and play in that environment. My hat’s off to Saraland. They’ve got a great coach and they were the better team. I’ve got to give credit to them.”

Holly said the coming week will be purely about getting better and having improved focus.

“It’s like I told the kids, this is about us,” Holly said. “You’ve got to be able to look at yourself in the mirror. I’ve got to make sure the kids are in the right condition. I’m accountable and I know I have to do the job of making us better. And I’m going to do that.” The Blue Devils will have a chance to show off their improvements Friday night in Atmore when they face the T.R. Miller Tigers at home in Herbert Barnes Stadium.

ECHS lost the last meeting between the two teams last year in Brewton en route to a 5-5 season. In 2010 the Blue Devils beat Miller by one point after going for two in overtime and parlayed that success into a 9-4 season that included a run deep into the Alabama High School Athletic Association playoffs.

This year’s contest will be played Friday night. Game time is 7 p.m.