Game of the year?

Published 3:42 pm Wednesday, October 5, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
Typically, when a high school is celebrating its homecoming an easy win is in the books.
Apparently, the Escambia Academy Cougars did not get that memo.
The Cougars (5-0, 5-1) will celebrate homecoming by facing their most important game of the season when they host the region foe Kingwood Lions (5-0, 6-0).
Cougar head coach Heath Gibson said his young Cougars would face a stiff test, especially in the secondary.
"They're going to throw the ball around a lot," Gibson said. "They run the ball maybe five-to-eight times a game. We've got some young kids in the secondary, and they are going to be tested. They've got three kids that are 6'5" or better."
To combat the size mismatches, Gibson took an unusual step in practice this week.
"I feel like we had a real good practice," he said. "We brought in some guys who had played arena football. One of them was 6'10". We just threw at them to see how our guys would do. Now their guys aren't that big, but I felt like we did well."
Despite all the preparation for the secondary, Gibson said the strategy would be to prevent the Lions from having the opportunity to throw downfield.
"They're going to throw the ball downfield," he said. "And they don't just throw it around, they're going for the home run ball. I'd say 50 percent of their passes are deep home run balls. We're just going to hit him in the mouth and keep constant pressure on every play. Offensively we're going to try to eat up as much clock as we can and keep them off the field."
Gibson said the coaching staff was making sure the players realized the importance of the game.
"We're trying to make sure they know it's an important game," he said. "They're still really young. We've been prepping since last week. That's not to take Coosa Valley (the Cougars' opponent last week) lightly, but we felt like this game was going to be more important so we've been studying up on them for a while."
Gibson said the game would come down to whose defense rose to the occasion.
"I feel like we can march up and down the field on them," he said. "They're good offensively, too. Our secondary and our defense are going to have to play well. I think it'll be a close game."
The Cougars will begin homecoming festivities Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

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