With one team of Blue Devils battling another, you could make up all the Satanic jokes you want on Friday night.
And for about the first 20 minutes, Etowah’s Blue Devils were giving sixth-ranked Mortimer Jordan’s all sort of — uh, heck.
Etowah controlled the first 20 minutes or so of the game, but two Jordan touchdowns in the last four minutes of the first half turned the game’s momentum and lead the way to a 24-10 victory in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
It was the defense that did the work for Jordan, with two players better known for their defensive prowess — defensive end Dontrez Green and linebacker Zac Thrift — who scored eight points each.
The visitors’ ground game, particularly in the person of pint-sized junior running back Paul Ruiz, caught Jordan flat-footed in the early going.
Ruiz put Etowah on the board on the first play of the second quarter. His 7-yard run up the middle capped off a 12-play, 95-yard drive, which started when Jordan downed a Trey Peters punt at the 5-yard line.
But after an Etowah drive bogged down near midfield in the second quarter, Jordan (10-1) struck quickly — a 69-yard run by Kalin Stringer set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Thrift, lined up at fullback. He also scored the 2-point conversion.
Then on the following possession, Etowah quarterback Andy Noles fumbled the ball deep in his own territory, where it was scooped up by Dontrez Green and run back 12 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Duncan Hodges hit Landon Smith for the 2-point conversion, which was key — Jordan was now ahead by two scores.
In the second half, Etowah (6-5) simply couldn’t get anything going on offense. A three-and-out possession began the half, followed another drive that started on the recovery of a Jordan fumble, only to be stopped on a fumble at the Jordan 12. A third possession in the third quarter ended on downs just inside Jordan territory.
The home team wasn’t making much headway in the third quarter, either, but a 10-play drive that finished in the fourth quarter ended with a Hodges 2-yard touchdown run that sealed the win with 9:27 left to play. Walker McCleney threw to Green for the 2-point conversion.
Etowah’s Juan Rios kicked a 29-yard field goal late, but on the ensuing possession, Jordan ran out the clock.
Stringer ran 15 times for 133 yards on the night, and Landon Smith added 10 carries for 44 yards for Jordan. Hodges was 5-of-9 passing for 44 yards.
Ruiz ran 23 times for 95 yards, and Noles was 7-of-13 in passing for 100 yards for Etowah.
Defensively, Colby Moon led the way for Jordan with 13 tackles. Thrift tallied 11, Spencer Brown had seven and Green six, plus the fumble recovery.
Jordan (10-1) moves into the second round of the 5A playoffs for the first time since 2006, and the fourth time since the beginning of the century. They’ve also won 10 games for only the third time in school history. Their trek continues next Friday night in Athens, where they will face third-ranked East Limestone. It’s the first time the two schools have ever played each other.