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EA slams S. Monty; heads to playoffs

By By DONALD WRIGHT
Sports Writer
The Escambia Academy Cougars clinched a playoff berth Friday night in a thrilling 47-33 win over the South Montgomery Academy Raiders.
The Cougars poured out 300 yards of total offense. The offensive surge was led by Kevin Adair with 100 yards on 20 carries and 5 touchdowns and Dustin Roberts who also had 100 yards rushing on 21 carries and scored 2 touchdowns.
The first quarter shaped up to be a defensive showdown with the score being 6-6 at the end of the quarter. Adair got the scoring off on a 25-yard touchdown run straight down the middle of the Raiders' defense. The Raiders weren't going to roll over, though, as they put together a 10-play 85-yard drive on their next possession to tie the score at 6-6. Runningback Rick Hall made the touchdown on a one yard lunge.
The second quarter proved to be an offensive explosion for both teams. The Raiders started the scoring on a four play 85 yard drive. Raiders quarterback Ryne Rials connected with Michael Paul Durden on a 77 yard touchdown bomb. The Raiders had their first lead of the game by a margin of 13-6.
Adair electrified the crowd on the kickoff returning it 63 yards to the Raiders 37-yard line. It took the offense just five plays to put more points on the board. Adair was again called on and ran the ball in from 4 yards out to tie the score at 13-13.
The Raiders were unable to move the ball on their next offensive possession and was forced to punt. Robert Hardy broke through, though, and blocked the attempted kick to give the ball to the Cougars at the Raiders 13-yard line. Adair again showed his speed and strength as he broke several tackles to make it to the end zone on a 13 yard dive play. The momentum seemed to be shifting and the Cougars retook the lead 20-13.
On the ensuing kick-off, the Raiders electrified their sidelines. Chase Ingram broke through and ran the kick-off back 86 yards for the score. The PAT soared wide, though, and the Cougars held on to a 20-19 lead.
On their next offensive possession, the Cougars' wanted to settle the pace. They started at their own 37-yard line, but only took 4 plays to find the end zone again. Adair had the big play of the drive as he rushed the ball 45 yards to the Raiders' 18 yard-line. Dustin Roberts provided the rest of the offense as he rushed the ball in from 18 yards out to increase the Cougars' lead to 26-19.
The Raiders were not finished though, as they were given good field position at their own 45-yard line. They put together an 8 play 55 yard drive to bring them back within one point. The PAT was again missed, though, and the Cougars went into half-time with a slim 26-25 lead.
The Cougars came out in the second half and wanted to set the pace. They received the kick-off and got a good return from Roberts to start at the 50-yard line. It took just five plays to cover the yardage as Adair scored another touchdown on a two yard run. The extra point was added and the Cougars' lead increased to 33-25.
The Raiders' offense stalled on their opening possession of the second half and were forced to punt the ball away. The Cougars were set up again with good field position at the Raiders' 48-yard line. They worked quickly again and needed just five plays to find the end zone. It was Adair again who scored for the Cougars on a 15 yard run. The Cougars had their biggest lead of the ball game 40-25.
The Raiders began the final period reeling from the offensive onset of the Cougars. They were looking for a break to get them back in the ball game. They got this break as Adair fumbled the ball and the Raiders recovered it at the Cougars 37-yard line. Rick Hall ran the ball four times for 37 yards including a 7 yard touchdown plunge. The Raiders added a two point conversion and cut the lead to 40-33.
The Cougars got the ball bake late in the ball game with 5:55 left. They were looking to keep the ball moving and run out the remainder of the game clock. They methodically drove the ball down the field on the legs of Adair and Roberts. They ran off a 14 play 60 yard drive and scored with 19 seconds left in the game. Roberts provided the score courtesy of an eight yard scamper. The Cougars lead grew to 47-33 which was how the game ended.
The game was important for both the Cougars and the Raiders. Both teams needed the win to continue play. In the end, the Cougars proved too tough for the Raiders to handle. The win moved the Cougars into the first round of the Alabama AISA state play-offs. The Cougars will open the first round on the road as they will have to travel to Abbeville.