By JOSH FRYE
The Escambia County High School Blue Devils closed out the 2021 football season with a 42-0 loss against the Flomaton Hurricanes on home turf last Friday, October 29. With the defeat, ECHS ends the season with an overall record of 2-8 and AHSAA 4A, Region 1 record of 1-5.
The Blue Devils, plagued by a skinny sideline, failed to hold back the Hurricanes early and FHS took a 6-0 advantage with 9:41 left in the opening quarter. With 3:05 left in the first, the Hurricanes scored again on another long drive. With only 20 seconds left on the clock during the first, Flomaton notched in a third touchdown and held a commanding, 20-0 lead. During the second quarter, the Hurricanes were able to punch in 2 more times before the half. During halftime, the Blue Devils trailed, 35-0. During the fourth quarter, FHS punched in the final score.
According to ECHS head coach Scott Mason, Blue Devils’ quarterback Dakota Despain completed 16 of 28 passes for 131 yards and was sacked 6 times during the game by Hurricane defenders. James Whatley carried 11 times for 43 yards and Anthony McCants led ECHS receiving with 6 catches for 59 yards.
Mason stressed that there were just a handful of players on the sidelines during Friday’s game that were serving as backups and many played on all sides of the ball.
“We can’t keep guys,” Mason said. “We have lost guys due to injuries, sickness and some have even moved out of Atmore and are playing for other teams. It has been tough. We need committed players.”
According to Mason, another factor that contributed to the loss last Friday was penalties. During the first quarter, several flags were thrown against both teams which extended the first quarter to 45 minutes of play time and the frustration of both teams started to spill onto the field as the game went on. During Friday’s game, both sides gained numerous unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and, on several occasions, skirmishes were quickly broken up by officials before the tensions escalated. Mason added that with many Atmore kids playing for Flomaton, the players know each other and that creates a more competitive environment and emotion fueled contest.
According to Mason, the goal for the off-season is to develop and mold an extremely young team and to try to gain more experienced players to help accelerate that process.
“We need guys,” Mason said. “We only had seven seniors this season and two of those were out due to injuries. Many of these young players will now have experience and know what to expect next season. We need to eliminate penalties and stop shooting ourselves in the foot every time we do something good.”
As ECHS finishes the season and begins to look to next year, the AHSAA playoff brackets are just heating up for this Friday’s (November 5) playoff action. In AHSAA 4A, Region 1, West Blocton will face Vigor, who will play in Citronelle. Montevallo will face Jackson. Bibb County will host Mobile Christian and Williamson will travel to face American Christian.
In AHSAA 3A, Region 1, T.R. Miller will host Hale County. Flomaton will travel to Montgomery Academy. Hillcrest-Evergreen will host Thomasville and Southside-Selma will travel to meet Bayside Academy.