Hurricanes too strong for mistake-prone Blue Devils
By JOSH FRYE
Escambia County High’s football team was no match for neighboring Flomaton’s Hurricane-force defensive winds last Friday, September 27. The Blue Devils turned the ball over six times and could never generate any offense as the state’s top-ranked Class 3A team claimed a 24-0 win.
The loss was Escambia’s second straight setback after a 3-0 start — the first time since 2011 the team has won its first three games — put them in the statewide Top 10. Flomaton, the Class 3A state champ last year, improved to 5-0.
ECHS quarterback Jacob Hammac completed just 10 of 23 pass attempts for 93 yards and failed to break through the tough FHS defense, which picked off three of his tosses during the night,
The defending Class 3A champions got all the points they would need during the game’s early moments. After recovering a Blue Devils fumble, FHS scored with 5:28 left to play in the first quarter on a 3-yard run, then added a two-point conversion for an 8-0 lead.
ECHS’s defensive unit stopped Flomaton time after time, but the Blue Devils struggled to gain yardage. The string of bad luck continued in the second quarter as Hammac threw his first interception of the night, turning the ball over with 10:16 left to play in the half.
Allen Patterson had a 29-yard scamper late in the second quarter that lifted ECHS’s spirits momentarily, but Flomaton recovered a fumble on the next play to end the drive.
“Turnovers plagued us,” ECHS head coach Scott Mason said. “We had a ton of turnovers and blown plays that were not executed. They (Flomaton) have a really good football team, and we failed to execute.”
The Blue Devils received the second-half kickoff and seemed determined to change the tide of the game
Hammac connected on a 19-yard pass to Jacob Dirden, who ran in for a much-needed ECHS touchdown, but the score was called back due to a holding call. Following the penalty, the Blue Devils sent kicker Aaron Calva on the field for an apparent 30-yard field goal attempt. Instead, Patterson took the snap and let the ball fly, but the pass was intercepted in the end zone.
The ECHS defense continued to fight the Hurricanes throughout the half, forcing a fumble on the next drive. But with 8:22 left to play in the contest, Hammac threw his second interception. The turnover set up a 2-yard FHS touchdown run, and the two-point conversion extended the lead to 16-0.
The Blue Devils attempted to rally once again with just over five minutes left to play, but Hammac’s third interception of the night set up the final Hurricanes tally, a 23-yard touchdown scamper. The two-point conversion provided the final score.
ECHS only had 36 offensive snaps on the night and totaled only 56 rushing yards and 149 yards of total offense.
Tyson Moorer led the ECHS offense with four pass receptions for 49 yards, while Hammac rushed for 26 yards and Willie Banks picked up 20 more on the ground.
The Blue Devils, playing without four injured starters, had two fumbles and four interceptions during the contest.
“We have to execute,” Mason said. “In big games like this, execution is the key. With two offensive starters and two defensive starters missing in the equation, it can throw things off. Our main focus is staying healthy. Right now, our guys are beaten to pieces.”
Mason stressed that the Blue Devils must win at least two of their upcoming region games to have a chance at the playoffs. ECHS still has region games remaining against Clarke County, UMS-Wright, Williamson and Andalusia.
The Blue Devils will host Clarke County this Friday, October 4, in ECHS’s homecoming game.