It was the same song, just a different verse for Escambia County High’s football team last Friday (October 13).
The Blue Devils gave a fine effort throughout the game, but a combination of turnovers and a ranked opponent again proved too much of an obstacle to overcome in a 45-22 loss to Thomasville’s Tigers. The setback was ECHS’s fourth straight, all against ranked opponents.
“We played hard,” said ECHS coach Rico Jackson, whose team dropped to 2-5 on the season, 1-4 in region play. “We did pretty good overall, and if we don’t make the turnovers it could have been a different game.”
The game’s defining moment came in the first period when ECHS, trailing 8-0, appeared set to tie the contest. After holding the Tigers, who came into the game as Class 4A’s sixth-ranked team, to a three-plays-and-out series, a short punt set the Devils up at the Thomasville 23.
Then, with a receiver wide open in the end zone on second down, a Jordaun Patterson pass was deflected by a lineman and picked off.
“You can’t throw through a lineman,” Jackson said. “We had a guy wide open. We were down 8-0 and it looked like we were about to tie it. It could have been 8-8 if make that play and get the two points. We’ve got to learn how to get out of our own way and make the plays.”
ECHS had shown signs on its third possession of the night that it wouldn’t roll over for the highly regarded visitors. After Thomasville missed a 36-yard field goal attempt, the Blue Devils drove from their own 20-yard line to their opponent’s 10, only to have a penalty and an incomplete pass kill the drive.
Following the stalled offensive series, the ECHS squad forced another punt, but a fumble on the return pretty much sealed the deal for the Tigers, who covered the 27 yards on 3 plays to go up 16-0.
Another interception set up a 5-play, 41-yard Thomasville scoring series that made it 23-0 at the half, and a short punt set the table for a 3-play, 38-yard drive and a 38-0 lead in the third period. The Tigers added another touchdown, pulling ahead by a 45-0 margin, before the Blue Devils came alive in the fourth period.
Patterson hit Xavier Lymon for a 45-yard scoring strike, and Demetrion Barnes ran for a touchdown that was set up by a 60-yard Malik Brown burst. Brown later scored to provide the game’s final points.
“We didn’t quit, so I was proud of that,” Jackson said of the final-period scoring flurry.
He added that, despite the interceptions, Patterson continues to show signs of becoming a more than capable signal-caller.
“Jordaun is going to be fine,” Jackson said. “You never like to look to next year, but he’s going to be really good next year.”
ECHS can expect another tough game this week, as the Devils travel on Friday to face Carroll High of Ozark, which was ranked second in Class 5A before a 49-12 win over Booker T. Washington on Friday.
“That’s been a common theme on our schedule,” said Jackson. “Carroll has three running backs, and they run it at you. They’re really physical. We’ll just keep plugging and see what happens.”