Cougars knocked out of playoffs
By By Matthew Nascone
The Meadowview Trojans won seven games behind running back Brett Collins' 1,500-plus yards and 20-plus touchdowns on the ground this season.
Collins added 126 yards and one score in the Trojans' 40-12 win over the Escambia Academy Cougars in the first round of the AISA Class AA state playoffs Friday night in Selma.
"Brett had a good game," Meadowview head coach Rick Jackson said. "We felt like they were going to stack the box against us and that is why we went to the pass to open the game up."
Collins also threw for a touchdown to open the second half.
Trojans quarterback Randal Hamilton opened the pass up with 178 passing yards and three touchdowns in the first half. He connected on touchdown tosses of 68, 25 and 27 yards in the half.
"He had a good night for us," Jackson said.
The Trojans (8-3) led 28-0 at the half and the Cougars (4-6) scored the final 12 points of the ball game after Meadowview added two quick touchdowns in the third quarter. EA cracked the goose egg on the scoreboard when sophomore running back Cameron McGhee powered it in from the one-yard line. The ensuing PAT was blocked and EA trailed 40-6 with 2:50 left in the third quarter.
The Cougar defense held Meadowview to three and out and the Cougars got the ball back on their own 45-yard line. Sophomore quarterback Jon Dean went 2-for-3 on the drive and rushed twice for 19 yards, the latter being a two-yard touchdown run with 9:35 showing on the clock.
Dean hooked up with sophomore wide receiver Michael Mitchell twice on the drive for 11 yards and 22 yards.
"Jon threw the ball pretty well all game and we got into a rhythm late in the game," EA head coach Heath Gibson said. "We just couldn't pick up some of the blitz packages early and some bad things happened to us at the wrong times."
After a long drive by Meadowview, the Cougars had another chance for a score, but senior wide receiver Dustin Hall couldn't hold the ball after a 34-yard reception from Dean and the Cougars turned the ball over about two minutes to go in the game. Meadowview ran the clock out for the win.
Hall had two receptions for 65 yards in the game.
"The underclassmen will look at the seniors who have led us all year and see how bad this loss has affected them and how we really need to go back to work," Gibson said. "And we will start Monday lifting weights. There is no time for the weary in football anymore. We now need to eat, sleep and breathe the weight room, so that is what we will do to get ready for next year."
Gibson said the ball game could have been played out differently if the Cougars could have punched the ball in on their opening drive of the game.
"When you are a young team as we are, you play off emotions a lot of the time," Gibson said. "So when we drove the length of the field and got down around the 20, had fourth and an inch and we had the penalty it was a mental letdown and the air just went right out of us."