Blue Devils 3-1 after shutout of Wilcox Central

ECHS’s Lajavius Johnson (1) and Ju’Marcus Lee (21) tackle a Wilcox ball carrier.
ECHS’s James Whatley (2) runs for yardage as Lebron Willis (51) prepares to block.

News Staff Writer

Escambia County High Coach Vincent Harris said prior to last Friday’s (September 16) Class 4A, Region 1 contest against winless Wilcox Central that he was anxious to see whether the team that won its first two games, or the team that had been blown out by St. Michael Catholic the previous week, would show up.
He quickly found out.
The Blue Devils posted their third win of the season, gaining an early advantage and making it stand up in a 34-0 homecoming win that gave them a 2-1 mark in region play.
“I was proud of the way our kids responded to adversity,” Harris said. “For them to respond the way they did, that’s big. We’re trying to learn how to handle adversity, and the guys bounced back like I had hoped they would.”
James Whatley scored 2 of his 3 touchdowns in the first half, Dakota DeSpain threw a TD pass to Lorenzo Arnold in between Whatley’s first-half scores, and Marrion Hooks hauled in a 6-point pass from DeSpain as ECHS built a 27-0 halftime lead.
With the one-sided lead, the teams agreed to let the second-half clock run unimpeded, except for timeouts, and Whatley got the final Blue Devils 6-pointer of the night in the third period.
“The kids were physical, and they did what they were supposed to do,” Harris said. “I’m proud of them. Our offensive line did a pretty good job. Kaiden Arnold leads that group.”
Defensively, the Blue Devils posted their first shutout. Harris said the whole unit played well, but he singled out several players who stood a little taller than the rest.
“Jovaughnta Henderson stood out, and Exavion Bradley played pretty good defense,” he said. “Mason Huggins had a good game, too. Really, the whole linebacker crew did pretty good.”
ECHS will travel to play Class 3A Monroe County this Friday before opening a grueling, 4-game region slate against Jackson on September 30. Following Jackson, the Blue Devils will take on T.R. Miller (on the road), Bayside Academy (at home) and Orange Beach (on the road).
“Their defense is fast; they’ve got a fast quarterback, and their receivers are pretty good,” Harris said of Friday’s opponent. “Their special teams are pretty good, too. It could be an interesting football game.”