EA dropped from playoffs
Published 12:46 am Monday, November 15, 2004
A win turned out to be hard to come by for the Cougars when they faced off with the South Choctaw Rebels Friday night as they lost a heartbreaker 52-44 in a game that neither team should have lost.
"Our guys gave it everything they had tonight," Escambia Head Coach Heath Gibson said. I don't think any player had anything left after this game, they all left it on the field."
The Cougars were led by a dominant showing by senior tailback and linebacker Norris Brooks. Breaks shredded the Rebel defense for 186 yards on 26 carries and three touchdowns despite playing the second half with a hip pointer and severe cramps. He also had five tackles on defense and one pass break-up.
"Our seniors really led the way for us tonight," Gibson said. "They are a great bunch of guys and they have nothing to be ashamed of after tonight's performance."
The Rebel offense got the first points of the game as they used a 27-yard scamper to build a 6-0 lead with 8:40 left in the first quarter. The extra-point was no good.
The Cougar offense came right back though, as they used a ball control attack to drive down the field to score on a Norris Brooks six yard run to tie the game at 6-6. The touchdown was made possible by a devastating downfield block by senior Oliver Petty at the five-yard line to spring Brooks the rest of the way. Brooks then ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 8-6.
South Choctaw answered right back as they took the ensuing kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown to build a quick 12-8 lead. The Rebel two-point conversion try was no good.
The Cougar offense was not to be outdone however, as they used a long 45-yard touchdown pass from Josh Mental to Cody Norton to give the Cougars back the lead at 14-12. Kevin White then ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 16-12,
In the second quarter, the Cougars turned the ball over three times on two interceptions and a blocked punt letting the Rebels build a 36-16 lead at halftime.
"We were really down after the first half," Gibson said "But our seniors really stepped up and took over the locker room and refused to go down in the second half without a fight,
The Cougars scored two quick touchdowns to start the second half behind a Kevin White three yard touchdown run and a Norris Brooks 16-yard touchdown run to make the score 36-32 with 2:32 left in the third quarter.
"Most people thought the game was over but our guys never gave up and never stopped believing in each other," Gibson said.
The Rebels score to extend their lead to 44-32 with 38.5 seconds left in the third quarter.
Brooks again exploded through a huge hole opened up by the Cougar offensive line to score from 28 yards out to make the score 44-38.
Then with 4:03 left in the fourth quarter the Cougar offense turned in the play of the game, as Brooks received the ball on a supposed halfback sweep, stopped and heaved a beautifulrainbow of a pass to a wide-open Cody Norton for a remarkable 48 yard touchdown to tie the game at 44-44. The Cougar's two-point conversion attempt was no good.
Despite a desperate and determined Cougar defense, the Rebels scored a touchdown and two-point conversion to make the score 52-44 with 2:15 left in the game.
The Cougars started on their own 26 yard line, but Josh Montel just missed Brooks on a desperation heave on fourth down to hand the Cougars the loss at 52-44.
"The whole team played an outstanding game in the second half," Gibson said. "When you can erase a 20 point deficit in one quarter in a game this big that is a very special thing."
The Cougar offense rolled up 377 yards rushing and 505 total yards with six touchdowns.
Brooks led the Cougars in total offense with 231 total yards and four touchdowns, Kevin White had 129 yards on 20 carries with one touchdown for Escambia and Bruce Smith also had 41 yards on six carries.
Josh Montel went 2 of 8 for 63 yards and one touchdown and two interceptions. He also had 21 yards rushing on five carries. Cody Norton led all receivers with two catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns.
Brandon Sanspree and Kevin White led all Cougar defenders in tackles with seven apiece. Bruce Smith, Brooks, Montel, and Bucky Dawson also had five tackles for the Cougars.
The loss ends a turnaround season for the Cougars as they ended up 7-3, after finishing last in the division the previous season.
"These guys are one of the best teams we have had out here in a while," Gibson said. "The seniors really stepped up became our leaders this year and you have to respect that they are all going out winners."