Cougars reach .500Published 6:02am Saturday, September 29, 2012
It took only one play for Winston Barron to settle in Friday night. By the second play, he had already added six points to the scoreboard after running 42 yards for a touchdown.
That second play set the tone for the game: It was the first of three touchdowns for Barron in EA’s 39-3 win over Pike Liberal Arts.
Three weeks ago with the team’s playoff hopes in the balance, Barron delivered a speech to his team and has been their leader ever since.
“Winston — what can you say? He’s been a touchdown machine for us this season,” Escambia Academy head coach Hugh Fountain said. “He’s got such talent. When he gets the football, he does good things.”
Thirty seconds into the game and the Cougars led 7-0. On their next offensive possession, Barron again came up with a touchdown, this one from 12 yards out to put the Escambia Academy on top 14-0.
On a punt attempt, a high snap led to Reid Bell not being able to get the punt off although he completed a pass but one short of the first down marker. That put the Patriots in good field position at the Cougars 36-yard line. After a few plays of positive yardage brought them to the goal line, the team was able to connect on a short field goal by the Patriots kicker Dustin Newman to cut the lead to 14-3.
From that point on, it was all Cougars. On the next offensive play, Barron ran 49 yards for another touchdown. It was the second time in the game the Patriots had tried to catch Escambia Academy off-guard with an onside kick.
The extra point was wide right, making the score 20-3 in favor of the Cougars.
On the next Cougar offensive possession, Reid Bell kept his feet moving to break several tackles and score a touchdown from 22 yards out.
A bad snap meant the Cougars didn’t even have a chance to attempt an extra point, making the score 26-3 in favor of Escambia Academy.
The next offensive drive almost led to another touchdown just before halftime, but after Tehron Stallworth caught Michael Thompson’s pass in the end zone the play was called back because of a blocking in the back penalty.
After the Cougars forced the Patriots to punt to start the second half, Barron had a highlight play where he caused several Patriot defenders to miss tackles with multiple spins and fakes. He would have had a 60-yard touchdown, but the play was called back due to a block in the back. After the team managed to put together several strong runs, Michael Thompson had another touchdown called back over a penalty.
The team ended up turning the ball over on downs.
On the next Cougar offensive possession, Barron had another touchdown from 28 yards out. Once again, the touchdown was called back due to a block in the back. This time around, it didn’t matter. Quarterback Michael Thompson ran the ball in from 35 yards out to put the Cougars on top 32-3.
By the fourth quarter, Escambia Academy had most of their backup players in to gain experience and the team was able to add one more touchdown in the quarter to make 39-3, which was the score when time ran out.
Pike Liberal Arts head coach Wayne Grant has a long history with Fountain. Grant was long-time head coach at Pike County and Fountain was the long-time head coach at Charles Henderson, two big rival teams.
“He’s an excellent coach. He’s got five different championships,” Fountain said. “He’ll do a great job with the program.”
Fountain was happy with the win, but concerned over the numerous penalties.
“The penalties were particularly bad in the second half,” Fountain said. “We lost our focus.
When you get penalties, it’s a lack of self-discipline.”
After the game, Barron credited his teammates with his dazzling play.
“I felt like if I followed my blocks and relied on my teammates, we’d be all right,” Barron said.