Chiefs get bye; Devils, Cougars get tests

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Escambia County Blue Devils are looking to have a big game this week for two reasons. The first reason is their very season rests upon them coming up with a win against regional opponent Monroe County. The second reason is the game falls on the school’s Homecoming celebration.

“Homecoming is very important. This is a region game,” head coach Lev Holly said. “This is a must-win for us.”

As for the fans, Holly is hoping for a big turnout and expects those who come to have a good time.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We just want [fans] to support them. Homecoming is a big deal,” Holly said. “They’ll enjoy themselves and have a great night of football.”

If history is any indicator, the Blue Devils hold the edge. All-time, the Blue Devils have a 40-24-1 record against Monroe County. Last season, the Blue Devils won on the road 33-0. The last time the two teams played at Herbert Barnes Stadium, Escambia County came away with the win 35-14.

Holly isn’t selling the Tigers short either.

“They’re a good football team,” he said. “They’re a much different team, well-coached. They’ve got some talent.”

While both Escambia County and Monroe County both have a 1-3 region record, the Blue Devils have a 1-5 overall record and the Tigers have a 3-3 overall record.

However, the Blue Devils have played better competition. Their opponents’ record is 21-15, while the Tigers opponents’ record is 16-20.

Both defenses are averaging an identical number: 32.2 points allowed per game.

Both teams’ regional wins came at the hands of Wilcox Central. The Blue Devils had an impressive 20-0 home win, while the Tigers won 32-15 on the road.

Both teams have also had regional losses at the hands of common foes, as both lost to UMS-Wright and Clarke County.

The biggest difference in the losses rests on the way the two teams lost to UMS-Wright. The Blue Devils had the lead at the end of the first quarter and were only down 14-7 at halftime before letting the game slip away. Meanwhile, Monroe County fell down early, as the score was 21-0 by the end of the first quarter and 42-0 by halftime.

Holly said turning the corner in the second half is the key for his team.

“Our kids just continue to fight,” he said. “We’ve just got to go out and make plays at the crucial point. We’ve just got to play hard and finish strong.”

Holly said the game plan is simple and it starts with being able to getting a stop on defense.

“Stop the man with the ball, play sound, be aggressive but play smart,” he said, when asked about his team’s approach to the game. “It’s all about doing things right. The kids are working hard. They know it’s do or die.”

Escambia County’s Homecoming Celebration will be held at Herbert Barnes Stadium as the Blue Devils host the Monroe County Tigers on Friday, Oct. 12 with kickoff at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, the Escambia Academy Cougars will face a formidable opponent when they host the Clarke Prep Gators. It’s a non-regional game, so it won’t have quite the same importance as Escambia County’s game but it will be an important step to the team’s quest for a strong showing should they make the playoffs.

The Gators won the last meeting between the two teams last year 24-20. The Gators also won the last time the game was held at Bachelor Field in 2010 by a score of 51-31. However, the Cougars did win 30-24 in 2009.

Overall, Clarke Prep has a 6-1 record, while Escambia Academy enters the contest with a 4-3 record.

The two teams do share some common traits. For instance, both defenses have allowed 118 total points in their respective seasons. That amounts to an average of 16.86 points allowed per game. Also, both teams have defeated South Choctaw Academy this season. Last week, the Cougars beat the Rebels 27-7 on the road. Clarke Prep beat the Rebels last month at home 29-0. The Cougars will likely rely more heavily on key running back and wide receiver Winston Barron with a tougher opponent this week.

The Escambia Academy Cougars host the Clarke Prep Gators in Canoe at Bachelor Field on Friday, Oct. 12 with kickoff at 7 p.m.

Northview has a bye this week, but the team will travel to Freeport next week.