Cougars lose close game to Horns
By By Zach Brooks
The Escambia Academy Cougars traveled to Marengo County to take on the two-time defending state 2A champs Marengo Academy Longhorns in a huge area game that had large impact on who would make the State 2A playoffs.
The Cougars got off to a good start in the first quarter as Robert Hardy plunged in for a touchdown from a yard out to make the score 6-0. J.R. Hall then booted in the extra-point attempt to make the score 7-0 with 59 seconds left to go in the first quarter.
The Cougars and Longhorns exploded with points in the second quarter with a combined for 35 points in the quarter. After all the scoring was over, the teams stood tied at 21-21 heading into halftime. Patrick Cannon scored all 21 points for the Longhorns in the second quarter on a variety of runs. A Josh Montel to Robert Hardy 35-yard strike accounted for the first Cougar touchdown, while a Kevin White 16-yard rumble accounted for the other touchdown of the quarter for the Cougars. J.R. Hall converted both of the Cougar extra-point attempts to make the score 21-21.
The Longhorns got the scoring rolling in the third quarter as they scored two unanswered touchdowns to take a commanding lead at 33-21. J.R. Hall got the Cougars going on offense with their first points of the half on a huge 35-yard field goal to make the score 33-24. Then, after another Marengo touchdown made the score 39-24, the Cougars started to show the heart that is their trademark by coming up with a stirring comeback. Robert Hardy got the comeback going for the Cougars as he went 77 yards on a brilliant touchdown run down the sideline to make the score 39-30. Hall then converted the extra point to bring the Cougars within eight points at 39-31.
The Cougars then started the fourth quarter off with a bang as they marched down the field on a variety of runs that Josh Montel capped off with a 2-yard scamper on a busted play to make the score 39-37. Robert Hardy then made another huge run for the Cougars as he charged in with the two-point conversion to tie the game at 39-39. The rest of the game was a disappointment however for the Cougars as they could not get anything else going on offense. The Longhorns put the game away with 1:23 left on a 5-yard touchdown run to make the score 46-39. All hope vanished for the Cougars on their last possession when the Longhorns picked off a Cougar pass and ran out the clock to win a very close area game 46-39.
Robert Hardy had a magnificent game on offense for the Cougars as he accounted for 205 total yards and three touchdowns. Hardy had 165 yards rushing on 14 carries with two touchdowns and one catch for 35 yards and one touchdown receiving. Kevin White was the Cougars' second leading rusher as carried the ball 15 times for 89 yards and one touchdown. Norris Brooks rounded out the Cougars' offense as he carried the ball eight times for 40 yards and had one catch for 22 yards. Josh Montel went 2/6 with 52 yards and one touchdown at quarterback. Joe Drew led the Cougars on defense with a game high 10 tackles. Stephen Shirley and Kevin White tied for second with seven tackles apiece, and Bucky Dawson, Craig Montel, and Norris Brooks finished tied for third in tackles with six apiece.
"Our kids really played their hearts out tonight," Escambia Academy coach Heath Gibson said. "They battled through a lot of adversity and the way they came back tonight showed how much grit and determination they have." The Cougars' next game will be Friday night at home against Sparta Academy. Kickoff is at 7:30.