WATER VALLEY– After dropping their first game in region play against a strong Charleston team, the Blue Devils cruised to an easy 56-0 win over Holly Springs.
The Blue Devil offense put up seven touchdowns in the night– five on the ground and two in the air–with a pick six by K.J. Lee bringing the total tally to eight touchdowns.
Much of the scoring would come in the first half as Coach Brad Embry would field younger players during the second half as the clock ran continuously.
“We did a lot better, but we still have room for improvement,” Embry said about the effort.
The Hawks (2-6, 0-2) had their first and only break of the night when they recovered a loose ball during the opening kickoff.
Four plays later, facing fourth and 38, the visiting team was forced to punt and The Blue Devils (7-1, 1-1) would respond with a six-play, 48 yard drive for a score.
Elijah Rogers recorded 42 yards on three running plays in the drive while T.T. Person carried the ball into the end zone on a five-yard run to go ahead 6-0. Junior kicker Alex Robles connected on the extra point. He went seven of eight for the night.
On their next possession the Blue Devils would score on a four play, 38 yard drive capped by a one yard run by senior signal caller E.J. Bounds to go ahead 14-0 with 3:33 remaining in the first quarter.
A blocked punt would set up the Blue Devils with short field position–this time from the 15 yard line. Bounds connected with Person on a fade route to take the ball into the end-zone on a 15-yard play to go ahead 21-0 with seconds remaining in the first quarter.
Their next score would come on another touchdown pass, this time from Bounds to Derrick Brady for 20 yards to increase the lead to 28 points.
One play would be all it would take on the Blue Devils’ next possession, this time from the Hawks’ 35-yard line as Rogers would take it all the way for a 35-0 lead.
A fumble on the Hawks’ next drive would again give the Blue Devils a short field–six times starting in Hawks’ territory in six possessions–and Bounds would walk into the end zone for a three-yard score after a six-play, 39-yard drive.
On the next drive the Hawks were able to cross mid-field, pickup up only their fourth first down in the half, but an interception by Lee was taken to the house for the Blue Devils’ final score in the half with six seconds remaining.
Robles missed the extra point attempt and the score was 48-0.
With the heavy hitters out of the game in the second half, the final touchdown came with just over three minutes remaining in the game with a two-yard run by Robert Mays, followed by a successful two-point conversion by Ingram.
On the night, seven different Blue Devils put up 199 yards on 25 carries–nearly eight yards per carry. Rogers led the rushing attack with 92 yards on six carries. Demetruis Ingram recorded 43 yards on four carries.
On the other side of the ball, Lee led the effort with seven tackles. Jonathan Kent recorded six tackles, while Dee McNeal, Kirkland Hortont and Quintez Holmes each recorded four tackles. Cortaveous Hawkins and Grant Blake recorded three tackles. Gary Bolden, Lee Mitchell, Jeremy Rogers, D. Gooch, Hunter Stanford and Person each recorded two tackles. The seasoned members were joined by a total of 18 players recording stops in the game as Embry substituted younger players in the second half. Freshmen players Taghee James and Ty Campbell also joined the stat sheet with a tackle each.
On Friday the Blue Devils turn their attention to the North Panola Cougars (5-3, 2-0) in Sardis.
“They are a good team, very athletic and fast. They have a sophomore and junior already committed to play at Ole Miss,” Embry said about the Cougars.
The Blue Devils defeated the Cougars last year in the first round of the playoffs, 41-22..
“They had some key players who were hurt last year when we played them. They are a dangerous football team, well-coached with a lot of athletes,” Embry said.
The Blue Devil head coach also said the big win last Friday had motivated his players as the third game of region play approaches.
“We had a great practice Monday. Even though the kids were out of school, they were here at 9 a.m. fired up and ready to go,” Embry said.