Cougars named to AISA All-StarsPublished 12:07am Saturday, November 10, 2012
Three Escambia Academy senior football players were a big part in their team’s successful season and were rewarded for their hard work this week when they were selected as AISA All-Stars.
Quarterback and safety Michael Thompson, running back and wide receiver Tehron Stallworth, and lineman Bo Bishop were All-Star selections and will have the opportunity to play in the All-Star game later this month on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at Stanley Jensen Stadium in Prattville. They will have a chance to play with and compete against some of the best AISA seniors in Alabama.
“To me, it’s an honor,” Thompson said of his selection. “It’s awesome to know that the other coaches out there thought that I should be picked for it. It’s a good feeling.”
Stallworth had similar sentiments, adding, “It’s a good feeling for me as well. It showed that hard work does pay off in the long run because we worked hard for this, and we never took any days off and all our work really just showed.”
In order to be eligible to be selected as an AISA All-Star, a player must be senior. Escambia Academy’s three senior certainly exhibited positive leadership qualities, although they lamented not showing more leadership earlier in the season.
“At first our leadership and our chemistry was just bad because it was just a new coach and a lot of new players,” Stallworth said. “It got better as we went on. I guess the three losses just made us realize that it was more at stake than just a regular football season, so we had to step it up with our leadership and Michael and I just took a big part in it.”
Thompson said it took a painful loss against Monroe Academy before team leaders emerged and got the team on the right track.
“Our toughest game that we had was against Monroe,” Thompson said. “That was just a blowout. That showed us that we weren’t together. Of course, we didn’t have the leadership. That game right there showed us we needed to pick up the leadership and it showed us we needed to start coming to practice and work even harder. At that time, we noticed we weren’t a team yet. We had to get our brotherhood together and fix things up, get things straight.”
After playing under coach Heath Gibson for three years, Thompson faced some adjustments.
“It was a lot different. It was hard, too,” Thompson said. “Being here my first three years, I learned everything coach Gibson taught me.
Then, when coach Fountain came, I had to forget all that. I had to pretty much start all over and learn by coach Fountain and his ways. It was pretty tough, but in the end it worked out.”
Stallworth, on the other hand, was already familiar with head coach Hugh Fountain.
“I grew up and all with coach Fountain, so I already knew what to expect,” Stallworth said. “So, it was the same to me because he still had the same morals and everything. So I just went by them, followed them and just did what I’ve been doing.”
Thompson and Stallworth had a special game against Macon-East in what was perhaps the Cougars’ biggest win of the year. The team produced a 26-21 come-from-behind win as time expired when Thompson threw a pass to the end zone, and Stallworth somehow managed to catch it and maintain possession of the pass.
“That definitely had to be the best game of my whole high school career,” Stallworth said. “I had to step up because Winston Barron wasn’t playing that game, so I had to step up and be a leader and that’s when my true leadership came out. I just had one of the best games I’ve ever played in high school. It’s going to be one of the greatest memories I ever have.”
Thompson said it part of the thrill of the win came from not giving up when others counted the team out.
“The game against Macon-East—some people thought we were going to go there and get beat,” Thompson said. “We came out and we were down with three seconds left in the game by one point and—of course, me and Tehron on that play—I almost got sacked and threw it up for a touchdown pass with three seconds left in the ballgame.”
While Bo Bishop didn’t get as much of the spotlight as Thompson and Stallworth, he helped protect Thompson and paved the way for a number of Stallworth’s running plays and racked up quite a few tackles on the defensive side of the ball, too.
The three All-Stars will have one more chance to play football even though the Cougars’ season has ended, but as Stallworth alluded to, they’ll still have plenty of good memories from their senior playoff season.