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Cougars look to rebound

By By Matthew Nascone
Rivalries can be tricky games because of the emotions poured onto the field from both sidelines and the Escambia Academy Cougars will attempt to claw their way back to .500 with a win over the rival Sparta Warriors on the road.
"They chose us as their homecoming game," EA head coach Heath Gibson said. "So we want to try and go in there and spoil it for them."
To do just that the Cougars (2-3, 1-3 in AISA Class 2A East Region play) are going to throw a lot of different looks at Sparta (2-3, 1-3) on offense and defense, Gibson said.
"We are going to try and get a lot of confusion by sending multiple people on defense," he said. "And we will do a lot more slanting and sending our linebackers in there for the sack."
The Cougars have a quick defensive front, and Gibson said they would need all their speed to attempt to get past the Warrior offensive line.
"They have a really big offensive line and we have to hope our speed can overcome that size difference," Gibson said.
EA may run into some problems elsewhere on defense in the shape of Warrior fullback Chase Brown. Sparta will run a single wing-t offense similar to the Cougars' offensive set and Brown will rumble through his line.
"He is a real good back and he is their do-it-all guy," Gibson said. "He is tough to bring down."
The Cougars were down an offensive lineman for their 15-12 loss to Marengo and Gibson said having Tyler Harrison back in the lineup would do wonders for his offense. The key to success for the EA offense this week will be to take advantage of every opportunity that arises.
"We may only get three or four possessions per half because they like to control the clock and run the ball like we do," Gibson said. "And I believe the game will come down to which team can take advantage of each possession and not turn the ball over."
Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. in Evergreen.