By JOSH FRYE
Escambia County’s Blue Devils, off to a 3-0 start and ranked in the state’s Top 10 for the first time in eight years, were stunned by W.S. Neal’s Blue Eagles, who took a relatively easy, 27-7 win last Friday, September 20, in East Brewton.
The win over No. 9 ECHS was the first victory of the season for WSN and ended any hopes ECHS had of a perfect season and left the team with a 3-1 mark.
ECHS quarterback Jacob Hammac, who completed 14 of 23 pass attempts for 136 yards and a touchdown but threw two interceptions during the night, rushed 10 yards to score on the first ECHS offensive drive of the game. Aaron Calva notched the extra-point, and the Blue Devils took an early 7-0 lead.
Hammac’s touchdown proved to be the only high mark for ECHS as play deteriorated for the Blue Devils from that point.
With a number of key injured players returning, the Blue Eagles dominated play for the rest of the first half, forcing an interception that was returned for a touchdown and adding an offensive touchdown to force the Blue Devils into the locker room at the half, trailing 14-7.
WSN came out for the second half with a newfound confidence, completing passes and dominating on the offensive and defensive lines.
Fumbles, interceptions, missed tackles and dropped touchdown passes plagued ECHS during the contest. In all, the Blue Devils tallied 10 dropped passes, three of which were potential touchdowns (two in the end zone).
Turnovers prevented the Blue Eagles from running away with the contest.
WSN running back Isaac Bonham added the final nail in the Blue Devils’ coffin, scoring on a 9-yard rush during the third quarter and on a 36-yard dash during the fourth quarter.
Tyson Moorer caught three passes for 60 yards before ending the night early with an ankle injury during the first quarter. Craig Brown had 10 carries for 58 yards to lead the ECHS offense. ECHS’s total yardage was 221 compared to WSN’s 407.
Allen Patterson saw little time in the game, as he continued to struggle after returning from a shoulder injury.
The Blue Devils were penalized 86 yards.
“It was the perfect storm,” ECHS head coach Scott Mason said. “We gave up after taking an early lead. We caught a ton of penalties on several plays and really beat ourselves in every way possible. I would sum up this game as an overall lack of effort.”
Mason stressed that the Blue Devils will continue to improve after the loss as ECHS prepares for this week’s battle against the state’s defending state champion and top-ranked Class 3A team.
“We did not execute as a team at all on Friday,” Mason said. “For this week’s game against Flomaton, we will have to execute on all cylinders if we want to win. They are a tough and physical team, and we will certainly have a challenge.” Game time 7 p.m. at Flomaton.