Escambia Academy loses its first area game, fifth game of the season
By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP
Advance Managing Editor
The Escambia Academy Cougars will have to continue searching for their first victory of the season as they were dealt another loss at the hands of Crenshaw Academy, 19-14.
In a game primarily played between the 30-yard lines, the two team's defenses played bend but don't break until late in the fourth quarter when the Crenshaw Cougars scored twice to earn the hard-fought victory.
After playing with a one-point deficit the majority of the game, the EA Cougars' lack of depth was a factor as Crenshaw was able to move the ball very effectively in the late stages of the game.
Even after Crenshaw scored twice late in the game, the Cougars continued to work and gave themselves and opportunity to make an on-side kick for another chance at the winning score.
Despite twisting an ankle early in the first half, Kevin Adair led the team in rushing with 79 yards. His brother, Brian Adair, was right behind him with 70. Josh Davis chipped in 20 yards rushing from the quarterback position.
After a tough opening series where the Cougars netted two yards, they punted to Crenshaw who took possession at their own 38-yard line. On the first play, the EA defense was all over the Crenshaw ball carrier as they dropped him for a loss of five yards. But, Jeremy Tidwell, who was a thorn in the side of the Cougars all night, took the next handoff and burst through the line and broke a couple tackles for a 67-yard touchdown run. After the PAT was converted, the Crenshaw Cougars held a 7-0 lead.
The next series was another three-and-out for Escambia and they were forced to punt. Crenshaw got as far as their own 44 on the possession before the Cougars forced a punt. The punt pinned the Cougars down at the 12-yard line.
But, on the first play, K. Adair took the handoff and blasted around the left side. After running for a 34-yard gain, he was finally caught from behind by Crenshaw at the EA 46-yard line. On third and seven, Davis found B. Adair open for 33 yards to put the Cougars at the 21-yard line. B. Adair took the next two plays for a total gain of 9 yards and on third and one, Davis took the ball up the middle for first down yardage. B. Adair took the next handoff for a gain of 5 yards to the 3-yard line and then carried the next play just over the goal line for their first score of the game. The PAT was shanked off to the right, leaving the Cougars trailing, 7-6.
The teams continued trading possessions during the second quarter.
With 3:11 to go in the half, Crenshaw took possession at their own 34-yard line. They drove the ball to the 46 and in a fourth and two situation, the Crenshaw team calls a pass play which was perfectly played by Davis who made an interception at the EA 46-yard line, giving them another shot to score before the half.
But, the interceptor became the intercepted as the EA quarterback threw into the arms of a defender on the very first play. A clipping call on the interception return backed CA up to their own 37 with 1:11 to go in the half. They reached the EA 42-yard line and were still driving with :59 seconds to go when an EA defender got behind the line of scrimmage and dropped the CA quarterback for an 11 yard loss. Crenshaw got off a few passes, with the final one being intercepted by EA at the 29-yard line.
EA got one pass off and then killed the remainder of time on the clock with their second play.
Each team took a few possessions to start the third quarter.
About half way through the period, EA drove the ball into Crenshaw territory to the 46-yard line. The Cougars took two plays, but the CA defense stiffened and did not give an inch – giving them good field position at midfield.
The first play was a pass that gained 16 yards. Then, three different runners took the next three plays for a total gain of 24 yards to the EA 17. Tidwell did the rest of the work as he took the handoff for a 17-yard touchdown run. The good news for EA was that Crenshaw was penalized for an unsportsman penalty which backed the PAT up 15 yards. Instead of attempted the long kick, CA went for two which was a pass that ended up being hauled down by K. Adair in the endzone.
The penalty kept the game within a touchdown and extra point as the EA team fell to 13-6.
Escambia took possession at the 22 on the kickoff with 9:52 to go in the game. They drove to the 33-yard line and were faced with another fourth and one. But, this time B. Adair took it for 2 yards for the first down. He followed that with a 14-yard scamper across midfield to the 47. Another good run was nullified by a holding call and with seven minutes to go, the Cougars were faced with a third and 18 to go at their own 40-yard line.
After a half back pass fell incomplete, the Cougars were forced to punt the ball away and hope their defense could get them the ball back.
Crenshaw took possession at the 19 on the punt. The first play went for a 10-yard gain. But, the CA runner was caught behind the line for a loss of 3 yards on the next play. On the 26, Escambia got what they were looking for as the ball fell to the ground and was immediately recovered by Shaun Sirmon at the 34-yard line.
K. Adair took the first handoff around the right side for a gain of 12 yards to the CA 22-yard line. Two plays later, with about four minutes to go, an EA pass was picked off by Crenshaw.
The defense was unable to stop Crenshaw on the next possession as they rolled down field on seven plays and was capped off with a 52-yard touchdown run by Tidwell. The PAT was blocked, but EA appeared out of the game, 19-6.
Beginning their next drive at their own 41 after a good return by K. Adair, the Cougars went to the air. The EA quarterback connected with Daniel Alaniz and Jace Beasley for big gains, the later of which gained the Cougars 15 additional yards as Crenshaw was called for their second unsportsman-like conduct penalty. Beasley was Davis' target again on the next play from the 23-yard line. He caught the ball near the goal line but the call never came from the referees as he was just short. With :20 seconds to go Davis took the ball the additional yard for a touchdown. EA went for the two-point conversion as Davis found Beasley wide open in the end zone to cut the lead to 19-14.
With :14 seconds to go, EA was putting their hopes on a successful onside kick and maybe one or two plays to score again. But, the kick rolled 8 yards and Crenshaw ended the game with a kneeldown.
Escambia Academy fell to 0-5 with the loss and will look for better fortunes during next week's homecoming matchup against Calvary.