Cougars lose in triple OT
By By RYAN CARTER
Coaches and fans thought his forward progress was stopped. But unfortunately the referees had other thoughts.
In Friday's game with the Abbeville Generals, the Escambia Academy Cougars lead the entire game. It seemed they would post their first win of the season. All they needed to do was run a few plays, let the clock run out and the win was theirs. Everything was in their favor. The Cougars had the ball and there were only 16 ticks left on the clock.
It looked like a done deal.
But that is when fate turned against the Cougars.
Taking the ball from scrimmage at the 20-yard line, Josh Davis scrambled left and into a group of General defenders. Not able to advance the ball, the General defenders pushed Davis back to the 10, apparently stopping his forward progress.
With EA coaches yelling for the referee to blow the whistle, a General defender stripped the ball from Davis. And to the surprise of EA fans and the coaching staff, the play was ruled a fumble and Abbeville took over at the EA 5.
Abbeville wasted little time capitalizing on the Cougar misfortune. Throwing a lateral to a General wideout, Abbeville scored with :09 remaining. After a couple of offsetting penalties, the Generals kicked the point after to tie the score at 7-7.
And three overtime periods later, the Generals came out on top 16-13.
In the first half, the game was a defensive battle with neither team able to generate much offensively.
However, late in the first quarter, Abbeville moved deep into Cougar territory on a 27-yard run down to the Cougar 27. A face mask call added to the Abbeville run moving them to the Cougar 22.
Abbeville picked up 11 more yards on the next play moving to the Cougar 11.
With the momentum swinging in favor of the Generals, it looked as if they would post the first score of the night.
But that is when the momentum changed.
As a General runner approached the line of scrimmage on first down, Rob Mosley made a statement with a strong hit stopping the General runner for a small gain.
The play seemed to spark the Cougar defense. After pushing the Generals back to the 15, the Cougars forced a fourth and long situation. Choosing not to kick the field goal, the Generals went for it on fourth.
But the EA defense held.
Jace Beasley caught the General quarterback behind the line for a sack giving the Cougars the ball at the 29.
After changing possessions again in the second quarter, the Cougars forced the Generals into another fourth and long situation forcing a punt.
Returning the punt from the Cougar 35, Davis out ran a General defender around the corner to see a wall of Cougars. Davis broke a tackle and sprinted 65 yards for the Cougar score. The PAT gave the Cougars a 7-0 lead.
After forcing another General punt later in the second, Davis almost did it again. Taking the General punt at the Cougar 24, he sprinted 50 yards to the General 26.
Unfortunately the Cougars could not pick up necessary yardage for a first and the Generals took over on downs at their own 22.
The Generals would drive deep into Cougar territory just before the half but the Cougar defense held and the half ended with the score 7-0.
Early in the second half, the Generals found themselves with excellent field position after Cougar punter Brian Adair ran and couldn't pick up necessary yardage for the first. The Generals took over at the EA 16.
The Cougars had to turn to the defense again to save the day.
And that is just what happened.
With the General quarterback dropping back to pass, Beasley tipped the pass and Davis intercepted giving the Cougars the ball and ending the General threat.
Later in the fourth with the Generals driving into Cougar territory, the Generals found themselves in a fourth and 18 situation. With 3:29 remaining, the General quarterback found an open receiver downfield for a 20-yard gain to the Cougar 36 and a first down.
But for the fourth time of the night, the Cougar defense would assert itself.
After Kevin Adair knocked down a General pass on second down, Davis made his second interception of the half giving the Cougars the ball and what seemed like their first victory of the season with 3:08 remaining.
After running the clock down to :16, the unthinkable happened.
But the Generals recovered a Davis fumble at the Cougar 5 and took it in from there to force an overtime period.
In overtime, each team was given one possession. Starting at the opposing 10, each team had four downs to attempt a score.
In overtime, the Generals took first possession. The Cougars seemed to have the Generals moving in the right direction after a delay of game call move Abbeville out to the 14. But on second and goal, the General quarterback scrambled around left in and scampered in for the score. The PAT was blocked by Davis giving the Generals a 13-7 lead.
It was the Cougars turn.
Taking possession at the 10, the Cougars went to the Adair brothers for three consecutive runs. After a three-yard gain by B. Adair on first down, K. Adair took it to the one-inch line on the next play.
Going back to B. Adair, the Cougars took it in from there to tie the score at 13-13.
All they needed was the PAT and the game would be over.
Unfortunately the Generals blocked the EA kick forcing a second overtime.
In the second overtime, the Cougars took first possession.
Their drive was short lived.
After an illegal procedure call backed the Cougars up, Davis threw into the endzone only to have his pass intercepted ending the Cougar scoring attempt.
The turnover gave the Generals the ball at the Cougar 10.
Keeping the ball on the ground, the Generals ran three consecutive QB sneaks apparently staying in the center of the hash marks for their kicker. And on fourth and goal, the General kicker came on to attempt a field goal, but fortunately for the Cougars the kick went wide right forcing a third overtime period.
In the third overtime period, the Generals were unable to get the ball into the end zone, but this time their field goal attempt was true giving them a 16-13 lead.
All the Cougars needed to do was take it in from the 10 and the win was theirs.
But that's when fate played against the Cougars for the second time of the night.
On third and four, a Davis pass was intercepted giving the Generals a 16-13 win.
The Cougars travel to Faith next week.