Cougars miss out on second area win
By By Zach Brooks Special to the Advance
ATMORE-The Escambia Academy Cougars took on the Southern Academy Friday night in front of a packed stadium, hoping to get another area win on the season, but a win was not in the cards, as they fell 50-22.
Nothing went right from the start for the Cougars as they allowed a 56-yard scoring pass on Southern's first possession of the game to fall behind quickly 6-0. The following extra point attempt was good so the score was 7-0.
Another Cougar miscue lead to more Southern points as a botched snapped punt went over the punter, Bucky Dawson's head and into the end zone for a safety and a 9-0 lead. After the Cougars kicked off, a big defensive stand forced a turnover on downs by Southern, and the Cougars got the ball in good field position on their own 35-yard line.
The Cougar's offense could do nothing with the good field position however, and on Southern's next possession, they took the ball down the field and scored a touchdown on a 36-yard scamper to make the score 15-0. The PAT was no good leaving the score 15-0. Southern would continue to score two more touchdowns on their next two possessions to take a commanding 30-0 lead before the Cougar's offense would do some damage of their own.
With 2:28 left in the second quarter the Cougars scored their first touchdown of the night on a Kevin White 45-yard rumble up the middle to make the score 30-6 and give the Cougars some momentum before the half. The Cougars then tried a two-point conversion, which was good bringing the score to 30-8. The Cougars momentum was short lived however, as Southern took their final possession of the half 75-yards for a heartbreaking touchdown to make the score 37-8 right before the half.
"We just did not play well in the second half," Cougar coach Heath Gibson said. "Our line did not block well, our defense did not play well, and our special teams did not pay well."
The Cougars then came out on fire in the second half as they drove right down the field for a touchdown, with Josh Montel taking it in from a yard out to make the score 37-14. The Cougars extra-point try was no good however, so the score remained 37-14.
Southern then put the game away as they scored two touchdowns of 14 and 28 yards to take an insurmountable 50-14 lead. Even with these touchdowns the Cougars were not going to be quiet as they showed heart and determination in taking the ball down the field and scoring on a 13-yard Josh Montel to Bucky Dawson pass play with 2:13 left to make the score 50.20. The Cougars then made the two-point conversion try and made the score 50-22. After Southern received the ensuing kick, the Cougar defense held and gave the Cougars the ball back with 52 seconds left in the game. The Cougars then almost scored again but a 45-yard Montel to Robert Hardy touchdown pass was called back because of holding, and the Cougar offense could never recover as they were defeated by Southern 50-22.
"We played like we were capable of playing in the second half, " Gibson said. "The guys came out and gave everything they had from start to finish and that is all we the coaching staff can ask them to do."
Kevin White led the Cougars offense with 131 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown. Robert Hardy came in second for the Cougars as he rushed for 65 yards on 14 carries. Norris Brooks also had 24 yards on 7 carries for the Cougars. Josh Montel led the Cougars in passing as he completed four passes in eight attempts for 43 yards and one touchdown, while also having 33 yards on four carries for rushing the ball. Bucky Dawson led in receiving, as he totaled 40 yards on three catches and one touchdown.
Norris Brooks and Stephen Shirley led the Cougar defense in tackles as they both totaled a game-high ten tackles each. Joe Drew as next for the Cougars with eight tackles, Robert Hardy and Oliver Petty also had seven tackles for the Cougars.
The Cougars' next game will be at Lowndes Academy.