Blue Devils fall 66-48 to Bayside Academy

Published 11:10 pm Friday, October 14, 2022

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ECHS quarterback accounted for 7 touchdowns in contest

Escambia County and Bayside Academy duked it out on the gridiron Friday night, but the Admirals pulled away in the fourth quarter to win 66-48 at Herbert Barnes Stadium in Atmore.

Blue Devils quarterback Dakota DeSpain threw six touchdowns and scored one on the ground; Bayside Academy’s Samuel Tait Moore scored four on the ground; and Jenkins Lilley converted a few field goals in the back-and-forth contest.

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“Our offense was electric,” ECHS head football coach Vincent Harris said. “The way Dakota played tonight, it was awesome. I’m proud of the team. They fought to the bitter end.”

With the loss, the Blue Devils fall to 4-4 overall, and 2-4 in Class 4A, Region 1. The Admirals improve to 5-3, 3-3.

Both teams were neck and neck throughout the first three quarters of play. Each answered on offense and came up with a defensive stop when needed. BA then held the Blue Devils early in the fourth quarter, and scored 21 unanswered points.

Harris said the offense got behind the sticks a bit in the fourth, and went lateral, adding that he was proud of his guys for not quitting. He said he was proud of the 13 seniors and how they played their hearts out.

“I thought they gave their all,” he said. “I’m proud of this team.”

Bayside opened up the scoring early in the first quarter on a Sammy ‘Dunn 30-yard scamper to the end zone.

The Blue Devils then answered less than 2 minutes later when DeSpain connected with Elijah Thomas on a 12-yard strike with 7:25 left in the first. DeSpain and Thomas would later connect several times in the third quarter of play.

ECHS then took a 15-7 after DeSpain found Lorenzo Arnold from 1-yard out. The touchdown came after a fumble recovery by the Blue Devils on the kickoff after Thomas’ first touchdown.

From there, BA got in the end zone again on a 42-yard scoring rush from Moore with 5:06 left in the first.

ECHS led 15-14 going into the second quarter.

In the second quarter, Moore scored on a 1-yard rush; and Lilley hit a 35-yard field goal midway through to give the Admirals a 24-15 advantage.

DeSpain found LaCarlos Thomas on a 9-yard pass with 1:25 left in the first half, and with a successful point after, the Blue Devils trailed by two.

Lilley would hit a 38-yard field goal with 3.5 seconds left and BA led 27-22 at the break.

In the third quarter, Elijah Thomas caught a long pass to set up a 1-yard touchdown rush from Lajavius Johnson. The extra point try was no good and ECHS led 28-27.

Another big play by BA set up another TD run from Moore with 8:33 left in the third quarter.

On their next offensive possession, the Blue Devils got in the red zone, where DeSpain converted a 16-yard TD pass to Jovaughnta Henderson with 5:42 left. ECHS led 35-34.

The Blue Devils then held BA on defense, and took advantage offensively.

DeSpain found Elijah Thomas on screen pass to the BA 11-yard line. Two plays later, the quarterback hit Thomas on an 8-yard pass with 3:43 to go in the third.

After a 27-yard field goal from Lilley, the Blue Devils answered with a 31-yard TD pass to Elijah Thomas with 59 seconds left. With the PAT, the Blue Devils led 48-37, however.

Dunn then converted a 10-yard scoring rush with 48.4 ticks left and with a successful 2-point conversion, the Admirals cut the lead to 48-45.

In the fourth, Moore scored on a 3-yard rush with 9:44 left; a 7-yard rush with 7:08 left; and the Admirals added another late TD rush.

DeSpain threw two interceptions in the fourth.