EA falls short to Monroe
Published 12:13 am Monday, November 1, 2004
The Escambia Academy Cougars looked to continue their seven game winning streak Friday night in Atmore when they took on arch rival Monroeville Academy Volunteers.
A win was not in the cards however for the Cougars as they lost a hard-fought game 28- 20 to the Volunteers.
"Our guys played an unbelievable game tonight," Escambia Head Coach Heath Gibson said. "We played hard right to the end and if a few calls and plays would have gone our way it might have been a different outcome."
Even though the Cougars lost, they showed their resilient spirit as they came back from a 13-0 deficit midway through the first quarter and trimmed the Volunteer lead to 20-12 at the half
"We played from behind for only the second time this season," Gibson said. "I was very proud of the way our guys handled being behind and never quitting until the final whistle."
The Volunteers got the scoring started as they scored two early touchdowns on runs of 67 and 16 yards to take a early 13-0 lead.
Josh Montel and Bruce Smith got the Cougar's offense on the board with 11: 51 left in the second quarter as they hooked up for a 17 yard touchdown pass to make the score 13-6.
J.R. Hall missed the extra-point so the score remained 13-6.
On the Volunteers next possession the Cougar's defense stepped up and stopped Monroe on a crucial fourth down play to give them possession on the Volunteer 42 yard line.
But on the next play the Cougar's fumbled the ball right back to Monroe and the Volunteers took advantage by traveling the length of the field and scoring with 7:15 left in the first half to take a 20-6 lead.
The Cougars offense answered on their next possession as they used a time consuming ball control drive to score on Kevin White's one yard run to cut the Volunteer lead to 20- 14 at half-time.
I thought it was really impressive how we came back to cut the lead to six points at the half," Gibson said. "We had a lot of momentum going into the second half and I thought we had a good chance to win the ballgame."
The Cougars received the ball first in the second half and proceeded to move the ball down the field and end up with a first and ten at the Volunteer 18 yard line. The Monroe defense stepped up thought and forced Escambia to turn the ball over on downs at the eight yard line after a failed fourth and inches conversion.
The Volunteer offense then took over and drove down the field and capped it off with a eight yard touchdown run to make the score 28-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Cougar offense took the field next needing a big play to back into the game and received it when Montel hooked up with receiver Cody Norton on a long 42 yard pass on third and nine to give the Cougars the ball on the Volunteer one yard line. Kevin White took it in from their and the Cougars cut the Monroe lead to 28-20 with 9:17 left in the game.
Monroe's offense took the field next and proceeded to use a variety of running plays to drive the ball down the field and try to take the remaining time of the clock. The plan almost worked to perfection, but the Cougar defense held on a dramatic fourth and goal situation on the one yard line to give the Cougar's possession on their two yard line with 36.3 seconds left in the game.
All hope the Cougars had of a miracle victory were extinguished when Montel's desperation heave on the last play of the game was deflected away and Volunteer's got the victory 28-20.
"We really played hard in the second half," Gibson said. "They played ball control in the second half and we came up just a few plays short to win tonight but you can not fault our guy's effort or heart."
Josh Montel led the Cougars in total offense. He was 6/11 passing for 108 yards and one touchdown and had seven carries for 42 yards.
Bruce Smith and Cody Norton were the leading receivers for the Cougars. Smith had two catches for 54 yards and one touchdown and Norton had three catches for 49 yards.
Kevin White and Norris Brooks lead the Cougars in rushing. White had sixteen carries for 72 yards and two touchdowns and Brooks had 51 yards on eleven carries.
Brooks and White also lead the Cougars on defense. White had 13 tackles and Brooks had 11 tackles with one for a loss. Bucky Dawson, J. R. Hall and Josh Montel also had good games on defense with six tackles apiece.
The Cougars will play their last regular season game Friday night against Jefferson Christian Academy in Birmingham. The game will be at 7:30.