WSN Eagles Fall to ECHS
W.S. Neal fell 46-13 to a very physical Escambia County (Atmore) team in a region game Friday night, dropping the Eagles to 0-4 on the season and 0-3 in region play.
The Blue Devils received the kickoff first, and drove down the field to Neal’s one yard line where they fumbled the ball. Neal recovered the fumble, but the Devils were able to score on a safety, starting the game 2-0, just two minutes into play. The Blue Devils managed to score on a 17-yard pass from J.P. Patterson to Lue Williams on their next possession. The two-point conversion was good, and the score increased to 10-0 with 7:18 to go in the first quarter.
The Eagles answered on their next drive, crossing the goal line on a 19-yard pass from senior Matthew Thomas to junior Ladarrius Harrison, narrowing Atmore’s lead to 10-6 with just under four minutes to play in the first quarter.
Neal’s defense had the Blue Devils at fourth and three on Neal’s 41-yard line, when Atmore faked a punt but was unable to convert, turning the ball over on downs. The Eagles were unable to make much progress on their next possession, punting the ball away, giving the Devils the ball on their own 19-yard line. Atmore drove down the field, ending their possession with a two-yard run by Khalil Askew. The PAT was no good. Neither team was able to score again in the second quarter, so at halftime, the score stood at Atmore 16 – Neal 6.
The Eagles received the ball to start the second half. As they moved down the field, a pass interception gave the Blue Devils a 35-yard pick six by William Bradley. The touchdown, accompanied by a two-point conversion, increased their lead to 24-6 with 9:42 to play in the third quarter.
Two snaps into their next possession, Neal’s Thomas shot off a 78-yard touchdown pass to Harrison and also made good on a pass to junior Jennings Hobbs for the two-point conversion, bringing to score to 24 Devils, 14 Eagles with 9:07 on the clock in the third.
Atmore responded with an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Jamarius Lewis and a good two-point conversion, increasing the Devil’s lead to 32-14 with 8:45 left to play in the third quarter.
The Eagles were unable to get into the end zone again, but the Blue Devils would manage two more scores in the third quarter, one a 33-yard fumble return by William Bradley and the other a four-yard run by Craig Brown. Neither team would cross the goal line in the fourth quarter, leaving the final score at Blue Devils 46 to Eagles 14.
Head Coach Andro Williams said his young team is working on gaining confidence and a hunger. “You’ve just got to have confidence. I think, at the end of the day, we’re lacking self-confidence. Period. We’ve got to get more of that. Through that, we’ll be able to turn some areas,” Williams said. “We’ve got to find a way to have that attitude and get that mentality. We’ve got to get hungry. Hunger comes with confidence, and confidence comes with hunger. It goes together. It’s a part of growing up, and we’ve got to grow up in a hurry. We’ve got to get some confidence, and we’ve got to get more physical. We don’t have an easy road ahead of us, so we’ve got to keep working. We’re going to take next week off as far as playing a game, but we’re going to go and work on us next week,” he said.
Both teams had 12 first downs in the competition, while the Eagles gained 253 total yards of offense, the Blue Devils gained 276 yards. Neal had 85 yards on the ground and 168 yards in the air to Atmore’s 137 rushing and 139 passing.
Ladarrius Harrison led the Eagle offense with 114 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Senior Taylor Fountain had two receptions for 35 yards, while Jennings Hobbs also had two catches for 19 yards.
The Eagles have a bye this week, and will return to action on October 5, when they take on the Monroe County Tigers in a region game in Monroeville, Ala. Kickoff is at 7:00 p.m.