Escambia High Gators: Schedules and Varsity Game Summary

Pace tramples Escambia 42-0
Written by PNJ Sports writer Chuck Corder

Pace coach Mickey Lindsey likes himself some winners.

From this current corps of Patriots to past units, the veteran coach always defines his teams by their winning attitude.

A week after a bitter defeat, Pace won just about everything in a convincing 42-0 homecoming blowout against Escambia on Friday at Patriot Stadium.

The Patriots (5-2, 3-1 District 1-6A) provided quite the response following a gut-wrenching loss to Pensacola High School last week.

"We needed to come back. It was a rough week," said Lindsey, whose team scored all its points in the first half. "The kids were upset and discouraged to lose a tough ballgame. I'm very proud of these guys."

Pride is a staple with this program.

It oozes throughout each home game, beginning when fans gather from the goal line to midfield and provide an alley for their beloved Patriots to run through, as fireworks ignite above them.

Homecoming queen Rylee Hart, she of the fancy blue dress, sash and crown, was right in the thick of it.

Pace rewarded its loyal supporters by wasting little time in putting this one to bed.

Senior running back Austin Autrey provided the thunder with two first-quarter touchdown runs (6, 9). Junior J.C. Curry supplied the lightning with another pair (1, 2), as the Patriots scored on six consecutive drives in the opening half.

The defense was just as ferocious. Pace held Escambia (2-5, 1-3) to 14 total net yards in the first 24 minutes.

The Gators, who have dropped three straight, didn't pick up their initial first down until midway through the second quarter. They didn't sniff the Patriots' side of the field until early in the third quarter.

"We played solid defense," Lindsey said. "They kept getting the ball to us on the right side of the field and it just opened up."

Pace's average starting field position in that landslide first half was the Escambia 38 thanks to an opportunistic defense that intercepted two Jake Durant passes.

The second was snatched out of the air by defensive back Devin McWilliams. The 5-foot-10 junior made his presence known throughout the game with some helmet-rattling hits.

But when McWilliams saw his chance to put his hands on a ball, he didn't let it slip through his gloves.

"I was nervous at the beginning," McWilliams said. "Once I got the ball, I just didn't wanna drop it. It felt really good."

So did the eventual shutout. While it certainly was another source of pride for the Patriots, McWilliams knew the blanking carried a tastier meaning.

"We go out to eat," he said. "Wherever we want. I'm hoping Olive Garden."

Where else would winners eat?

After the clock went to zeroes, Lindsey spent several minutes talking with Escambia interim coach Kerry McDowell.

The two didn't discuss Friday night's one-sided affair, but instead talked about the turmoil the Gators have endured the last month after head coach Scott Anderson was suspended with pay following an off-the-field incident.

Thrown into the fire, McDowell has managed to rally his team despite getting to show no wins for it.

"He's just trying to do the best he can with it," Lindsey said of McDowell. "I respect him a lot."

A winner's attitude.