By By Chandler Myers
For the first time in Escambia Academy history, the Cougars of Canoe have advanced past the first round of the AISA playoffs after defeating the Springwood Academy Wildcats 46-38 in Lanett Friday night.
The win also gives Cougars Head Coach Heath Gibson his first postseason victory in his fourth trip to the playoffs.
Gibson said coming off the win against the Wildcats the Cougars are banged up, but working hard.
This week, the Cougars (7-5, 5-2) travel to Monroeville to take on the Monroe Academy Volunteers in a rematch with a berth in the AISA Class 2A state championship on the line.
When the Cougars and Volunteers earlier this season on Oct. 23, the Volunteers walked away with a 36-21 victory that gave them a region championship.
Gibson said he and the Cougars have already begun working to prepare for the strong offense Monroe brings to the table.
In the first match up, the Cougars fell behind early, but lived up to their second-half hype and tried to make a comeback.
To leave Monroeville with a win this time, the Cougars have to be fired up for the first half.
Gibson said busted coverages on defense must be corrected to have a chance. He added that the offensive line will need to fight harder to keep the Monroe defenders out of the backfield.
The Volunteers have a powerful offense that picks up its yards on the ground, but can go to the air if a big pickup is needed.
The Cougar defense will need to watch for quick or deep passes if they are able to back up the Volunteer defense.
Gibson said the defense needs to play more aggressive than ever to keep Monroe on their toes.
On offense, the Cougars have to find out early what offensive sets will work against the quick Monroe defense.
Last week, the Wildcats were able to neutralize the Cougars spread offense, which forced EA to move back into their double Wing-T.
Gibson said mixing up offensive sets early will show him what needs to be done to get the ball into the end zone.
The Cougars and the Volunteers kickoff Friday night at 7 p.m. in Monroeville.
Anyone not able to attend the game can also listen on 105.9 WNSI or watch the game on www.escambiaacademylive.com