Playoff picture developing for local teams

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, October 24, 2012

This week’s local high school football action is headlined by the game between the Escambia County Blue Devils and the Andalusia Bulldogs. The game is critical because the winner will make the state playoffs.

The Blue Devils are fresh off the heels of a big win against another regional foe, Hillcrest-Evergreen. It was their second win in a row, with both wins coming against regional opponents. At this point in the season, the Blue Devils will face their third do-or-die game. So far, they’ve thrived in such high-pressure scenarios.

“I’m proud of our kids,” Escambia County head coach Lev Holly said. “They know it’s up for grabs. It’s a one game season from here on out. They’ve responded well and executed well. For the most part, it was a big win for us confidence-wise. I think it sets up a big game this Friday night. The fourth spot is on the table.”

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Both Andalusia and Escambia County have regional records of 3-3 with both teams defeating Wilcox Central, Monroe County, and Hillcrest-Evergreen, while losing to UMS-Wright, Thomasville, and Clarke County.

“They’re a great team,” Holly said. “They’ve played a tough schedule, as tough a schedule as we have. It’s like a chess game. Our next move will be our best move.”

Andalusia’s team has built their success this season around a stingy defense. The team has only allowed a total of 90 points on the season, an average of 14.8 points per game.

Holly believes his team will prevail as long as they execute and play mistake-free. He knows his team will have to play a physical brand of football to defeat Andalusia.

“I just think they’re a solid team,” Holly said. “They’re fundamentally sound. They play great defense.”
Holly added, half-jokingly, half-seriously, that the key is to be the team to “score more points. Be the team at the end of the game with the most points.”

The Blue Devils enter the game with an overall record of 3-5, while the Bulldogs have a 5-3 overall record.

Escambia County hosts Andalusia on Friday, Oct. 26 at Herbert Barnes Stadium with kickoff at 7 p.m.

Escambia Academy will face a road test against a fellow AISA playoff-bound team when they travel to Cecil to play Macon-East.

The game figures to be a battle of a high-octane offense, as Macon-East is averaging 31.6 points per game, against a rugged defense, as the Cougars are averaging a mere 17.0 points allowed per game, a total of 153 points on the season.

While Fort Dale Academy is averaging 33.7 point per game on the season, the Cougars held them to 21 points. If the Cougars can do the same against a less highly-regarded Knights offense and put up their offensive season average of about 27 points, then they will come away with the win.

This will be the first Knights team the Cougars play over the next two weeks, as they will face the Tuscaloosa Academy Knights on Nov. 2 for their first-round playoff game.

Escambia Academy enters the game with a 3-1 road record, while Macon-East is 1-3 at home. Overall, the Cougars are 5-4, while the Knights are 6-3.

Escambia Academy will travel to Cecil to play Macon-East on Friday, Oct. 26 with kickoff at 7 p.m.

Northview will have an important game this week as well: homecoming. The Chiefs will host the Vernon Yellow Jackets, another district game for the team following last week’s convincing district road win over Freeport by a score of 42-0.

The Yellow Jackets have already lost a team Northview beat earlier this season, Chipley. While the Chiefs defeated Chipley 50-29, Vernon lost to Chipley by a score of 35-28.

Last season, Northview defeated Vernon by a score of 47-6.

The Chiefs are 4-1 at home this season, while the Yellow Jackets are 0-5 on the road.

Overall, the Chiefs have a 5-2 record, while the Yellow Jackets are 1-6. Their lone win on the season was a 38-6 victory over Wewahitchka.

Northview will host Vernon for their 2012 Homecoming on Friday, Oct. 26 in Bratt with kickoff at 7 p.m.