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Blue Devils to visit Hillcrest

One can learn a lot from game film.

Escambia County took a good look at Hillcrest-Evergreen and the Blue Devils learned that the Jaguars are quite athletic.

“That’s exactly what jumps out on you when watching film,” ECHS head football coach Royce Young said. “They’re very athletic. They have good speed in all positions, and run a scheme that a whole lot of high schools don’t run.”

Young said the Jaguars’ offensive scheme — RPOs, or run, pass option — is found more in the upper college ranks of football.

“They do it every game and do it very well,” he said. “It forces you to play fundamental football.”

What makes the RPO offense so effective is that in a normal case, the quarterback and running back mesh to where the running back blocks the defensive end to lead the way for a big run, Young said.

However, the RPO can be adjusted for another option, where the quarterback ends up pulling the ball and then hits a receiver late in the play.

“It really puts you in a bind,” Young said. “You have to be really disciplined. That’s a scenario we haven’t shown yet as we haven’t played disciplined football for four quarters.”

Last week, the Blue Devils fell hard 54-0 to a good Andalusia team. ECHS couldn’t get going on offense, as it went through four straight three-and-outs. The Bulldogs led 41-0 at halftime.

Other than 6-foot-2 quarterback Ja’len Powell for HEHS, the Jaguars are balanced on offense, Young said.

“That’s another area that’s a concern,” he said. “They run and throw it equally well. After breaking down several films on them, their run-pass ratio is 50-50. Unlike a lot of teams, they don’t have one or two receivers. All of their receivers can catch it. Their running backs can catch it in the backfield.

“They’re solid across the board,” he said.

Additionally, the Jaguars have solid linemen who can move their feet well, Young said.