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Blue Devils Impress in Dress Rehearsal

Defensive Coordinator Richard Russo leads an experienced defensive squad into the 2010 season. – Photo by Mark Anthony

Herald Staff Report

WATER VALLEY – On Friday, August 13, 2010 the Water Valley Blue Devils held a Pre-Season Scrimmage and “Meet the Blue Devils” at Clark Field. Although it was a dress rehearsal for the 2010 season, someone forgot to inform the Blue Devils that this game would not go down in the record books. WVHS set the tone early and often with their physical brand of Football and won the half 12-0 over the Vardaman Rams.
    The Rams won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. The defensive unit, which Defensive Coordinator Coach Richard Russo coins the “Wrecking Crew,” laid the foundation for the things to come and quickly forced Vardaman into a three and out. The Blue Devil Offense wasted no time in making its mark either as the unit drove the ball consistently down the field led by strong blocking and an Eric Buckley 25-yard run to the Ram 7-yard line. Senior Fullback J.D. Fondon broke the ice on the season scoring by taking the ball between the tackles for the remaining distance. The PAT attempt was no good.
    The next drive, the Blue Devil allowed its only first down of the opening quarter and that was via an offside penalty. The defensive unit had Vardaman on their heels all night as C.J. Jackson, J.D. Fondon, and Desmond Hervey all registered quarterback sacks. The “Wrecking Crew” also got strong defensive backfield play from Kenon Kirkwood and Eric Buckley. Equally impressive was the Special Teams’ Punt Return unit as team effort combined with big hits by Chris Conard and J.D. Fondon allowed returner Torrey Horton to advance all the way down to the Ram 20-yard line.
     Freshman Quarterback E.J. Bounds rolled out for a pass, but read that no one was open and decided to scramble for an 11-yard gain while Sophomore Fullback Quinterrio Bailey took the ball the remainder of the way to end the night’s scoring. The PAT attempt was again no good.
    “I thought the kids did a great job during the Vardaman Scrimmage,” reported Head Coach Brad Embry.
    “Our coaches worked hard to get them ready and the kids took the coaching and carried it to the game field. I was especially pleased with how physical we were as a team. It was a team success: players, managers and coaches all working together. Now we need to build on that success and carry it over to the first game versus Bruce.”
    Coach Russo added this about the defensive efforts, “I could not have been prouder of our effort, intensity, and execution tonight. Vardaman is a tough way to open up the season because they run 14 different formations and force you to prepare for them all.”
    Our players handled the situation as if it was a playoff game and that is to their credit. Our coaching staff had them well prepared and the kids went out there and executed. I am excited about the leadership that is on the field and the potential of this year’s team.”
    The Blue Devils will be back in action as they renew an old rivalry with the visiting Bruce Trojans this Friday night at Clark Field at 7:30 p.m. to open the official 2010 campaign.

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