EA's win streak snapped
By By Matthew Nascone
The fright of Friday the 13th has new meaning to all Escambia Academy football players and fans. This eerie day is now the day Jason terrorizes camp counselors and the day the Wilcox Academy Wildcats came to town to ruin the Cougars' Homecoming week.
The Wildcats defeated EA with ease, 27-7. And they had scored 27 points before the Cougars could find the end zone. It was a tough game for EA and the loss snapped the team's two-game winning streak.
"The biggest thing that hurt us tonight was the four turnovers," EA head coach Heath Gibson said. "We just couldn't get in a rhythm offensively, but I am very proud of our defense."
That defense held the Wildcats to just 14 points before halftime. Seven of those 14 points came off the Wildcats first drive of the game. EA senior quarterback Cody Norton threw an interception, which led to great field position for Wilcox. They started their opening drive on the Cougar 26 yard line and punched it in on three plays to grab a 7-0 lead with 9:09 on the clock for the first quarter.
Wilcox did not score again until right before the half. Two interceptions in the first half dampened the Cougars' chances of reaching the end zone, but Gibson said that was his fault.
"We had the wrong game plan offensively," he said. "We thought we attack them through the air and we were wrong. They had some great athletes who made the plays for them."
He also added that being down 14-0 at the half did not put his guys out of the game.
"We went toe-to-toe with them in the first half and to only be down 14-0 was great at the half," Gibson said. "I felt like we were still in the game at that point and our guys were flying all around the field and making tackles. Coach Byrd (Jason Barnett) did a great job of preparing our defense for the game."
As the second half opened up it was more of the same for the Cougars. On the Wildcats first series, the freshman defensive back Michael Mitchell forced a fumble and the Cougars recovered the ball, but Norton threw an interception to turn the ball back over to Wilcox.
The Wildcats were forced to punt, but an interception on the next series for EA set up Wilcox in great field position and they tacked on another touchdown for a 21-0 lead. They scored their final touchdown of the game in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
Senior fullback Joe Drew busted through the Wilcox defensive front for a four-yard touchdown run with 40 seconds left in the game for the Cougars' only score. Gibson said it would be back to the drawing board for next week.
"We will go back to what works for us," Gibson said. "And that is running the wing-t offense and running the ball."
Drew rushed for 68 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown. Freshman wingback Jon Dean ran six times for 19 yards. Senior wingback Kevin Maher ran for 23 yards on eight carries. Norton had five carries for 40 yards and was 3-for-11 for 31 yards and four interceptions through the air. Drew also led the team in tackles with 11, Mitchell and senior linebacker Ethan Brooks added eight and Norton had seven.
The Cougars travel to square off with Marion Schools Oct. 20 before coming home for their final regular season game on senior night against Faith Academy Oct. 27.