BLOG: The Blue Devils had a rough start to their jamboree at Vardaman tonight, as flags and two turnovers limited Water Valley to just seven points in the first half.
Water Valley regrouped at half and ended up routing the home squad 28-6.
Despite considerably out-gaining the Rams in the first half, the Blue Devils let silly penalties and two turnovers (one going into Vardaman’s end zone and one inside their own red zone) give Vardaman a premature 6-0 lead. (Water Valley junior Devin Fleming was able to jump over the line and block Vardaman’s extra-point attempt with his chest to hold the Rams to six points.)
Following quarterback Cody Jenkins‘ 12-yard scamper for a score with just under a minute left in the first half, Water Valley responded to set the tone for the second half.
After Jeoffrey Gordon ripped off a 43-yard run (that ended up netting 28 because of a 15-yard unsportsman like penalty), fellow running back C.J. Jackson broke free down the Water Valley sideline for a 55-yard score with just two seconds remaining in the half.
Combined with sophomore QB E.J. Bounds, the Blue Devils rushing attack wore down a Vardaman defense that had the bulk of its players playing on both sides of the ball.
In the second half Water Valley stretched its lead thanks to a 21-yard touchdown run from Jackson, a 29-yard pass from Bounds to Cole Camp in the left flat, and a 6-yard run from Gordon on consecutive possessions.
STAUNCH DEFENSE: In addition to a reliable ground attack, the Blue Devils’ defense was unrelenting in its pressure on Jenkins.
Following the game, WVHS defensive coordinator Richard Russo said he wouldn’t be surprised if tonight’s game helped to jump-start B.J. White.
White, Jackson and defensive tackle O’Kedrik Campbell were consistently in Vardaman’s offensive backfield, limiting the Rams’ passing game by not allowing Jenkins to set his feet.
GETTING STARTED: Tonight’s game was a good starting point to the season for the Blue Devils.
As head coach Brad Embry told his team at the half, “You can play two ways: You can play smart and hard or dumb and hard.”
His team responded by cutting back on mistakes in the second half and the result was a view at what a focused Blue Devils squad is capable of doing.
The Blue Devils will open their season next Friday at Independence at 7:30 p.m. (August 12, 2011)