By Stan Veitch/Sports Correspondent
Improvement is the one thing that Etowah High football coach Drew Noles has wanted from his team each week.
Well, it’s going to be tough to improve on Friday’s (Oct. 16) performance, as the Blue Devils plowed Class 5A, Region 7 rival Boaz by a 42-0 margin in Attalla.
“We’ve improved tremendously from Week 1 until now,” Noles said. “Our offense continues to improve and is now truly multiple. But we’ve got to continue to improve.
“And I can’t complain about our defense, either.”
Multiple is a good word to describe Friday’s offensive performance, as the Blue Devils (5-3, 4-1) scored in multiple fashions.
Stacy Williams opened the barrage with a 9-yard rush with 9:16 left in the first quarter. After forcing a Pirate three-and-out, Paul Ruiz took it to the house with a 60-yard punt return.
Not too long after, Williams caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Andy Noles. This immediately followed a 22-yard scoring run by Ruiz that was called back for holding.
Ruiz got his vengeance on the next possession, though. He caught a swing pass and faced three Boaz players. Ruiz jived and juked past all three Pirates, then outran the coverage for a 56-yard touchdown. Note that Etowah led 28-0 after only one quarter.
The Blue Devils added to that early in the second quarter with a 14-yard rush by Caleb Horton. Ruiz had another touchdown – a 12-yard run – called back for holding.
The final score came with 7:49 left in the half, as Ruiz caught a 24-yard pass from Andy Noles.
“Andy made good decisions tonight,” Drew Noles said. “We’re still a run-first team but we’re averaging a little over 100 yards a game passing, too.”
Andy Noles completed 6-of-8 passes for 136 yards and three touchdowns in one half of play.
The defense had some bragging rights, too. Boaz (1-6, 1-4) was held to 16 yards in the first half and 36 yards in the second half against Etowah’s backup players.
The Blue Devils first-team defenders caused the Pirates to have 10 negative yardage plays. Meanwhile, Etowah finished with 379 total yards.
Etowah substituted freely in the second half.
“Everybody who dressed out tonight got to play,” Drew Noles said. “The older guys played the first half and took control enough that I felt comfortable putting even the very young players in.”
Next week, the Blue Devils travel to Madison County, with the winner claiming second place in the region and home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
“Next week will be very important, needless to say,” the coach said. “But we’ve got to concentrate on us. If we practice with Madison County on our minds too much, we can get sunk.”