Cougars end losing skid with home win

Published 9:57 am Monday, September 17, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
Heading into Friday night's contest against Jackson, the Escambia Academy offense had only managed to score one touchdown in its three previous games.
With some adjustments in practice last week, that all changed as the Cougars (1-3, 1-2) clawed out of their slump with a 46-7 win before a home crowd at Bachelor Field.
"It was a pretty good night all the way around," EA head coach Heath Gipson said. "I'll take that any day of the week. We went back to the basics."
Gipson said besides working on fundamentals in preparation for the game, he opted to revert back to the Wing-T offense, which EA has been traditionally known for. Heading into the season, the Cougars' coaching staff decided to run a spread offense due to personnel limitations and to take advantage of the team's speed, but it did not work well the first three games of the season.
Gipson believes making the offensive change made the difference Friday night.
"I feel like our kids are so much more comfortable in the Wing-T," he said. "They are not confused on the blocking schemes and they know what they are doing. They enjoy running that offense, so when the kids are comfortable at doing something, it makes it a lot better for us offensively."
The Cougars scored early and often in the game. Junior running back Kawetta Coon put EA on the scoreboard first with a 17-yard touchdown run only two minutes into the game. Dustin Brown's point after kick was good, giving the home team a 7-0 lead.
Escambia Academy scored two more times in the first quarter and three times in the second quarter.
Sophomore Tank Mitchell closed the first quarter with a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown. Sophomore quarterback Jon Dean's 60-yard interception return for a touchdown was the highlight of the second quarter. After a missed PAT and a couple of failed two-point conversions, the Cougars had a commanding 39-0 lead at halftime.
EA managed one more score in the third quarter when junior Blaine Garrett raced into the end zone on a 34-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good, giving the Cougars a 46-0 lead.
Jackson managed to break Escambia Academy's defensive shutout when David Houston capped off a 60-yard drive with a seven-yard plunge for the score with three minutes remaining in the game. The point after attempt was true, putting the Eagles on the scoreboard, 46-7.
Escambia Academy chalked up 327 yards of total offense with 317 yards coming from the Cougars' running attack. Coon led the way with nine carries for 106 yards rushing and one touchdown. Dean followed close behind with six carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
Garrett also had a good night toting the pigskin with 84 yards rushing and a touchdown on five carries. Senior fullback Ethan Brooks finished the night with 10 carries for 31 yards and a score.
Garrett led the Cougars' defensive stand with 12 tackles. Dean and Cameron McGhee both finished the night with six tackles with Dean snagging an interception. Coon and Blake Kick each had five tackles with Coon picking off one Jackson pass. Mitchell also had a stellar night on the defensive side of the football with three tackles, one interception and a fumble recovery that he rumbled for 50 yards.
"We had some guys step up and make some big plays," Gipson said. "We preached on that all week that we had to step up early on defense and make something happen. Make a turnover, force a fumble or force an interception and the kids did."
EA will travel to a tough opponent in Marengo Academy Friday night.
Gipson said in order to keep Marengo at bay, his team will have to play hard-nosed football.
"They are going to be real big and physical and we're going to have to step up to the challenge and be just a physical as they are and hopefully make some big plays to win the ballgame," Gipson said.

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