Devils split halves

Published 6:36 pm Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Escambia County’s Scottie McNeal runs the ball down the field against McKenzie in the Blue Devils’ spring jamboree game Friday night at Flomaton High School.

Escambia County’s Scottie McNeal runs the ball down the field against McKenzie in the Blue Devils’ spring jamboree game Friday night at Flomaton High School.

FLOMATON — The Escambia County High School Blue Devils split against their spring jamboree opponents Friday night at Flomaton Hurricane Field.

In the first half of the jamboree game, ECHS defeated McKenzie by the score of 28-0. In the second half, host team Flomaton topped the Blue Devils, 14-0.

ECHS head football coach Royce Young, who is in his first season coaching the Blue Devils, said his team gave a strong effort at times Friday night.

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“In the first half against McKenzie, we were flying around the ball and making a lot of plays,” he said. “In the second half, we started to get a little tired and made some mistakes. We’ll need to learn from this experience.”

Young said he is excited about the talent that the Blue Devils could put on the field in the fall, but noted they have to learn more discipline. There were about 45 players who dressed out for Friday’s game.

“I’m definitely pleased and excited about some of the players that we have on our team,” he said. “If they buy in to what the coaches are telling them, and they work hard in the summer, then I think we can have a good season.”

It didn’t take the Blue Devils long to break onto the scoreboard Friday.

On just the second play of the game, quarterback Marcus Brooks completed a short pass in the left flat to Devante Dailey, who broke away for a 63-yard touchdown reception. The two-point conversion failed and the Blue Devils led 6-0 with 11:06 remaining in the first quarter.

Brooks completed his second touchdown pass of the game later in the quarter, connecting with Gaetyn Thames for a 32-yard scoring pass with 3:02 left. The two-point conversion failed, as the Blue Devils increased their lead to 12-0.

Thames scored on a 17-yard touchdown run with 9:17 left in the second quarter, and Brooks completed a two-point conversion pass to Darian Staples, putting ECHS ahead 20-0.

The Blue Devils closed out their scoring with 3:35 left in the second quarter, on a 5-yard touchdown run by Thames. Dailey added the two-point run on a conversion, putting ECHS up 28-0.

Young said he was especially pleased by the Blue Devils’ defensive effort against McKenzie. In addition to fielding a shutout, ECHS also forced two turnovers.

In the second half of the spring jamboree, ECHS and Flomaton played a scoreless first half. The Hurricanes moved in front with 11:53 left in the fourth quarter, when Jamel Grace scored on a 13-yard touchdown run, and also added the two-point conversion.

Grace also scored on a 5-yard run with 3:00 left in the game, but the Hurricanes’ two-point conversion failed.

Prior to the start of the second half of Friday’s game, the public-address announcer at the stadium read a special welcome-back message for Young. Young was Flomaton’s coach from 1991 to 1993.

“That was a very humbling experience,” Young said. “My family and I loved the Flomaton community, and it was very special to hear that.”

Flomaton defeated McKenzie, 20-8, in the opening session of Friday’s jamboree game.