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Cougars pounce on Warriors

By By Zach Brooks Special to the Advance
The Escambia Academy Cougars took on the Sparta Academy Warriors Friday night at Cougar Field in a game the Cougars needed to win to keep their season alive.
Playing on their home turf, the Cougars rode a wave of enthusiasm given off by the roaring crowd to notch their first win of the season by totally demolishing Sparta 44-0.
"We really had great pratices this week and it showed on the field tonight," Cougar Coach Health Gibson said. "We changed some things on both sides of the ball and our kids just really played hard tonight and we got the win."
The Cougars opened the scoring for both teams in the first quarter as Robert Hardy scored one of his four touchdowns from 26 yards out to give the Cougars a 6-0 lead. J.R. Hall then missed the extra-point attempt to leave the score at 6-0. Hardy's other touchdown runs were of 41, seven, one yards and they were all in the second quarter.
Kevin White also added a Cougar touchdown with 10:40 left in the second quarter when he rumbled and tumbled his way in the endzone from 26-yards out, as the Cougars took a commanding 32-0 lead at halftime.
"We really took control in the first half," EA offensive coordinator Chad Pruit said. "The line really came off the ball hard and gave our backs some gaping holes to run through."
Norris Brooks got the Cougars going with 3:57 left in the third quarter as he squeezed in from three yards out to give the Cougars an insurmountable lead at 38-0.
Dalton Murphy then capped the Cougars scoring for the night as he busted loose down the far sideline with an 66-yard run to give the Cougars a 44-0 lead.
The Cougar's 44 points were their highest point output of the season as they rushed for a combined 388 yards on the night. Robert Hardy led the Cougars on offense as he rushed for 170 yards on 15 carries and four touchdowns. Kevin White came in second for the Cougars as he rushed for 81 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. Norris Brooks also had 28 yards on 7 carries for the Cougars and one touchdown.
Josh Montel went one for five on the night for the Cougars at quarterback for eight yards and also had nine yards on three carries.
As good as the Cougars offense was in this game the Cougars defense was totally outstanding as they notched their first shutout of the year.
"We changed the techniques of our defensive tackles tonight," EA defensive coordinator Robbie Jaye said. "We took away their outside running and funneled most of their runs between the tackles were the strongest players on our defense are playing.
Jaye also said, " I think we were the best 0-4 team in the state before we won tonight, and now that we are finally starting to come together as a team I think we have an excellent chance of going to the playoffs."
Joe Drew had an awesome game on defense for the Cougars as he recorded a game high 16 tackles and caused and recovered a fumble. Stephen Shirley came in second on the Cougars in tackles with nine for the game. Norris Brooks and Kevin round out the Cougars on defense as they both tied with seven tackles apiece.
"We played a great game all around tonight," Gibson said. "We ran the ball well, blocked well, and really played an outstanding game on defense tonight and I am glad we have our first win of the year."
The Cougars' next game will be homecoming for the Cougars as they entertain Sumter Academy Friday night at 7:30.