By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
Maybe it was the 90-minute bus drive, maybe it was the fact their undefeated, state-ranked opponent was hosting them for its homecoming game.
Whatever it was, Escambia County High’s error-prone Blue Devils fell behind quickly and never found their groove in a 50-7 Class 4A, Region 1 loss to Jackson last Friday, October 6.
Jackson’s Aggies, who came into the game ranked fourth in the state, scored 36 points in the opening period and improved to 5-0 on the season, 4-0 in region play, with the one-sided decision.
ECHS did not post statistics online after the loss, which left the team with a 5-2 overall mark and a 2-2 region record. Stats posted by Jackson showed the Aggies accumulated 312 yards offense and got 3 rushing TDs from freshman Ezavier Crowell.
But it was the Jackson defense that put on a show. The Aggies hurried 7 of sophomore quarterback Jamarian Robinson’s passes and intercepted 4, including one that was taken back 38 yards for a TD. Robinson came into the contest having thrown only 5 interceptions.
Jackson also scored when a defender knocked the ball from Robinson’s hands and a teammate scooped it up and raced 73 yards into the end zone with it.
ECHS second-year head coach Vincent Harris told reporters after the contest that the combination of Blue Devils miscues and Aggies talent was too much to overcome.
“Jackson has a really good football team, and they played,” he said. “We made too many mistakes. We’ve got to get back to the drawing board.”
Lorenzo Arnold scored ECHS’s lone touchdown, and Luis Garcia booted the PAT. Arnold’s catch was reportedly his 6th TD reception of the season. He has also run for a 6-pointer.
Despite the setback, the Blue Devils remain in the thick of the postseason hunt, currently tied with Bayside Academy for the 4th spot in region standings. The Atmore bunch closes out the season with three league showdowns — at home against T.R. Miller this Friday, against Bayside (at Daphne) the next week, and at home against still-winless Orange Beach in the regular season finale.
T.R. Miller has two region games left, against Satsuma and St. Michael Catholic, before closing its season against neighboring rival W.S. Neal. Bayside plays Orange Beach this week and has only Satsuma left on its region schedule after that, and Orange Beach winds down its season with region encounters against Wilcox Central and ECHS.