Playoff-bound Cougars

Published 1:07 pm Wednesday, October 31, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
The Escambia Academy Cougars are headed back to the playoffs this week, and if they want to have a good chance of winning head coach Heath Gibson said they need to stop one player.
"Brett Collins is the man for them," Gibson said. "He is either catching or carrying the ball 85 percent of the time and we will need to stop him to have a chance in this game."
The Cougars (4-5) travel to Selma to take on the Meadowview Trojans (7-3) in the first round of the AISA AA state playoffs. EA enters the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from Region 1 and Meadowview is the No. 1 seed from Region 2.
Just being in the playoffs is a blessing, according to Gibson.
"For us just to be there is great," he said. "Five games into the season we were 1-4 and thought we were in for a bad season. But then we went on a three-game win streak to even our record at 4-4 and give us the No. 4 seed in the playoffs."
Then the Cougars hung in tough in their game against Class AAA Faith Academy last week. The game's final score was not an indication of how the game was played.
"I felt like we played our best game of the season against Faith, but we just couldn't hang with them the whole game," Gibson said. "You may get beat, but when your kids know they were in the game with a team like Faith it does great things for the team's confidence."
Gibson said the Trojans use an effective zone blocking scheme to spring Collins for big yardage. But good news for the Cougars is they get their emotional leader, senior linebacker and fullback Ethan Brooks, back for the playoffs. Brooks was sidelined last week with a sprained shoulder.
To win the game, Gibson said the Cougars need to focus on the small stuff.
"We need to play with a lot of intensity, control the clock and not turn the football over if we want to win," he said.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in Selma. Anyone interested in hitching a ride to the game can contact Keri Payne at the Academy for a ride. The bus ride will cost $5 per person and tickets for the game can also be purchased at the school. Ticket prices are $7 for adults and $5 for students. Swing by the front office of the Academy to buy tickets.

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