EA earns fourth winPublished 11:50pm Friday, September 27, 2013
The Escambia Academy Cougars survived a sloppy first half and used big runs in the second half to seal up a possible playoff spot with a 35-14 win over region foe Morgan Academy.
Cougar coach Hugh Fountain said he was proud of his team after the game.
“There were a lot of mistakes and we really had to gut it out in the second half,” he said. “We’ve had a bunch of sloppy first halves.”
The turning point in the game came on the Cougars’ first play of the second half. With a seven-point lead, EA’s Brett Gorum handed it off to Gordon Brooks, who exploded for 47 yards and a touchdown. The Scott Brantley kick was good and the Cougars led 14-0 with 11:44 left in the third quarter.
“That was one thing that helped turn the tide,” Fountain said.
In all, EA ran for 368 yards on 33 carries. The Cougars were led by Tim Finklea, who gained 167 yards on 15 carries.
Morgan running back Jamie Bearden picked up 64 yards on 17 carries, but the Senators did most of their damage through the air. Quarterback Harrison Adams completed 19 of 37 passes for 214 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Early in the second half, a Senator turnover on downs gave the Cougars the ball at the 49-yard line. Gorum completed a 20-yard strike to Brice McGhee, while Kris Brown and Gorum traded carries down the field. The drive was capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to Finklea, giving the Cougars a 7-0 lead with 7:01 left in the half.
The next Morgan drive started on its own 27-yard line, and ended when Adams was picked in the end zone by Brooks.
Down 14-0 after Brooks’ touchdown to open the half, Morgan drove the ball to the Cougar 2-yard line, but two straight runs failed to reach pay dirt and the Senators turned the ball over on downs with 7:28 left in the third quarter.
The Cougars went to work immediately. Gorum connected with Finklea on a 29-yard pass. The play was called back to the 15-yard line after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was called on EA. Finklea took the handoff two plays later and ran it in for a touchdown. Brantley’s kick was good and the Cougars led 21-0 with 6:12 left in the third quarter.
On EA’s next scoring drive, Brown appeared to have scored from 43 yards out, but the play was called back due to a holding penalty. Brooks eventually scored from 25 yards out, after three straight Finklea runs. Brantley’s kick split the uprights and EA led 28-0 with 11:51 left in the closing quarter.
A pass interference call on a fourth-and-6 play kept the ensuing Morgan drive alive, but the Senators couldn’t capitalize. EA went three-and-out on its next offensive position.
Morgan capped the following possession with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Adams to Watters, with 4:59 left in the fourth. Morgan attempted an onside kick, but failed to recover it, giving EA the ball at the 50-yard line.
A J.P. Sawyer 25-yard run and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave EA the ball at the Senator 12-yard line. Brown did the rest, scoring on the next play to give the Cougars a 35-7 lead with 4:17 left.
Morgan turned the ball over on downs during the ensuing drive, but an EA fumble during the next offensive possession gave the Senators the ball back at their own 44-yard line.
After a short drive, Adams scored with a 14-yard run. The Lauren Rutherford kick was good and the Senators cut the Cougars lead to 35-14 with 1:05 left in the game.
EA’s next game is Friday at Pike Liberal Arts in Troy.