News Sports

Final playoff spot up for grabs

Top-ranked Bulldogs roll past Blue Devils, 31-8

News Sportswriter

The Escambia County Blue Devils continue to search for answers after falling to the state’s number-one ranked Class 4A team, UMS-Wright’s Bulldogs, who also clinched another region championship with a 31-8 win.
With the loss, the Blue Devils own a season record of 4-4, while UMS-Wright’s undefeated record extends to 8-0.
Since the rivals’ first meeting in 1929, the Bulldogs have defeated the Blue Devils 10 consecutive years, and UMS extended its consecutive-game winning streak to 28.
Last year, UMS helped end ECHS’s playoff chances with a 35-0 defeat.
Friday night’s game started slowly for the Atmore team. The Bulldogs took advantage of misread plays and other ECHS mistakes to go in first, scoring on a 14-yard pass. The PAT boot gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead, and they were off to the races.
UMS went 11 plays for 64 yards in the second period, striking on a 5-yard touchdown run that extended the lead 14-0.
With the Blue Devils struggling on offense and defense, the Bulldogs went 8 plays for 42 yards, notching another seven points for a 21-0 lead. Then, with two seconds left in the half, UMS booted a 37-yard field goal to make the halftime score 24-0.
ECHS received the pigskin to start the third quarter but continued to struggle both offensively and defensively on misread plays and failed blocks.
With six minutes left in the third, a light shined briefly for the Blue Devils as ECHS intercepted the ball on a fake punt attempt. However, a lack of blocking ended third-quarter scoring hopes for the Blue Devils.
ECHS held possession of the football for only three plays during the third quarter.
The Devils were unable to hold the UMS offense at bay. The Bulldogs started the fourth quarter with another five-yard scoring drive to extend the lead to 31-0.
Then, with fumbles, missed blocks and unsportsmanlike penalties plaguing them, the Blue Devils continually looked for a break.
With just over five minutes left to play in the game, a 39-yard scoring pass from Jacob Hammac to Allen Patterson finally put six on the board for the Blue Devils. Patterson also ran in for the extra two points, and ECHS retired with a 31-8 defeat.
As a result of the loss, the Blue Devils, tied for third place with Williamson, now find themselves in a must-win situation against Williamson this Friday, October 25, if playoff hopes are to be realized.
Last season, ECHS found themselves in a much similar situation after falling 35-0 to UMS. The Blue Devils, tied for third place with Williamson, were knocked out when Williamson pulled out a 7-2 win on a muddy Mobile playing field.
This season is playing out in almost the same fashion, but ECHS has high hopes that history does not repeat itself.