WSN Eagles show effort in 8-7 loss to ECHS Thursday, look to Monroe this week

Published 5:28 am Monday, August 25, 2008

By Staff
Adam Robinson – Sports Editor
Coming into Thursday's Kick Off Classic against Escambia County and the 2008 season, W.S. Neal head football coach Blaine Hathcock knew his team would be inexperienced. He knew his offense would be young, and his defense would be the more experienced side of the ball.
All that proved true Thursday in East Brewton when the Eagles of W.S. Neal fell to the Escambia County High School Blue Devils 8-7 in a two-quarter exhibition game.
While Thursday night's game was just a tune-up for the beginning of the 2008 season for both teams, Hathcock wanted his team to go out and compete and show a good effort.
Boasting a young offense this season, it was the offense of the Eagles who struck first in the game.
After taking over at the 30-yard line on their first offensive series of the night, the Eagles drove the length of the field in eight plays and got a 20-yard pass reception touchdown from quarterback Taylor Cash to receiver Jeremy Nicholson on a third-and-10 from the Blue Devil 20-yard line to put the Eagles up 6-0 with 9:35 left in the first quarter.
First year kicker Jacob Cannon added the extra point for the Eagles to make it a 7-0 Eagle lead. The Blue Devils committed two offside penalties on the drive and had a pass interference call.
The Eagle offense managed 11 first downs and 81 yards passing on the night and 28 yards rushing for a total of 103 total yards.
After the score for the Eagles, the Blue Devils took over at their own 30-yard line and went five plays to the Eagle 14-yard line. From there, the experienced W.S. Neal defense came up with a Blue Devil fumble and set up at their own 17-yard line.
After the fumble from Atmore, the Eagle offense drove to the Blue Devil 13-yard line with the aid of four false start penalties from Atmore and a 27-yard pass reception from Maurice Samuel.
After reaching the 13-yard line, Eagle quarterback Taylor Cash was sacked for a 9-yard loss on fourth down and gave the ball back to the Blue Devils.
On the second drive of the night for the Blue Devils, Atmore used seven plays and a 40-yard quarterback scramble from Rico Stallworth to cut the W.S. Neal lead to 7-6 with 2:06 left in the first quarter.
After a roughing the kicker call against the Eagles, the Blue Devils went for the two-point conversion, and Michael Thomas found the end zone to give the Blue Devils the 8-7 lead.
Both teams alternated punts on their offensive series as Atmore took the exhibition win by a score of 8-7.
Even though the Eagles took the loss in the exhibition game, Hathcock was pleased with what he saw from his Eagles and saw room for improvement before the season opener next Thursday.
“We have got to get more depth, especially at running back. We have to get better at the offensive line and we know that,” Hathcock said. “Defensively, we just have to not give up the big plays. We gave up the big pass and the big run tonight, so we have to eliminate those things.
W.S. Neal will open its 2008 season next Thursday at home at 7 p.m. against the Monroe County High School Tigers.
JV action:
After a two-quarter game from the varsity players, the JV squads from both teams played a 20-minute non-stop quarter with Escambia County claiming a 7-0 win over the Eagles.
The Blue Devils opened the game on offense and went a quick four and out. The four and out was quickly followed by a quick four and out from the Eagle offense.
After another punt from Escambia County, a bad snap form the Eagles gave the ball right back to the Blue Devils at the 20-yard line.
Escambia County then moved the ball to the Eagle 14-yard line, before a 31-yard field goal for the Blue Devils went wide right and gave the ball to the Eagles on the 20-yard line.
After moving the ball to the 24-yard line, an Eagle fumble was scooped by the Blue e Devils and returned 19-yards to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead.
After the touchdown, the Eagles took over on offense, but failed to score before time expired.