Eagles hit halfway point of road schedule
Published 9:17 am Wednesday, September 5, 2007
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
It would be a long stretch to say the W.S. Neal Blue Eagles will be home free if they can get by the Escambia County Blue Devils in terms of the Class 4A Region 1 race since six league weeks will still remain.
On the other hand, it will not be a stretch to say W.S. Neal will be home free when it comes to its overall schedule. Once the Blue Eagles get past Friday's game at Atmore, which kicks off at 7 p.m., W.S. Neal will play six of its final eight games at home. That stretch includes five of its last six.
The Blue Eagles put the first of their four road games in the win column Friday when they rallied for a 41-21 win at Daleville.
The W.S. Neal-Escambia County contest is the only one of this week's four region games that pits two teams that won opening week. While W.S. Neal was busy disposing of Daleville, Escambia County was doing the same to Alabama Christian Academy in a tough 12-8 defensive struggle.
The Blue Devils took advantage of a fortunate bounce with six minutes left for its winning score. Alabama Christian Academy had an 8-6 lead until Kingston Craft caught a deflected pass in full stride and ran it in 33 yards for a touchdown.
That completion was the only one for freshman quarterback Ricco Stallworth (6-1, 170 lb.) in nine attempts. While Stallworth struggled in the air, he contributed on the ground where he had 52 yards rushing on 17 carries.
Escambia County managed just 37 yards of offense in the first half and 33 of those yards came on Katral James' touchdown run for the only first half score.
James (6-0, 200 lb. sr.) was a workhorse most of the game for the Blue Devils, as he racked up 121 yards rushing on 17 carries.
The Escambia County defense figures to be a good challenge for the W.S. Neal offense, which racked up 365 yards of total offense against Daleville. Senior running back Louis Ray Nelson accounted
for 71 percent of that figure
with 259 yards rushing on 18 carries.
The Blue Devils, who received a team-high eight tackles from free safety Josh McCants (6-0, 190 lb. sr.), limited Alabama Christian Academy to 199 yards. Defensive lineman Jarrod Jefferson (6-3, 240 lb. sr.) was also a big presence with five tackles, three assists and a sack.
Despite a 20-point margin of victory against Daleville, Hathcock said there are still plenty of areas his team needs to clean up. A lot of those areas are on special teams where W.S. Neal missed two extra points and gave up two long kickoff returns to Daleville's Jonas Randolph.