Cougar back dominates

Published 11:29 pm Friday, September 10, 2010

Escambia Academy junior running back Jaylen Henry put his legs to work Friday night as the Cougars bulldozed past a hard-nosed Marengo Academy Longhorns team 50-29 at Bachelor Field in Canoe.

Henry led the Cougars (3-1, 1-1) with 386 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns in the game. He rushed the ball 23 times for 288 yards and five touchdowns, and returned a kickoff 74 yards for his sixth touchdown of the game.

Cougars head coach Heath Gibson said his offense really some great moments in the win.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I saw some real bright spots from our offense,” Gibson said. “Jaylen had another big night, and our offensive line did a great job of blocking. Michael Thompson is doing a good job of managing our offense. He had a really good pass early in the game.”

Marengo opened the game with the ball, and drove 80 yards in seven plays capped off by a 37-yard touchdown pass to go up 7-0.

The Cougars answered right back though as they scored in two plays with Henry running out of his shoe on a 59-yard scamper to pay dirt to tie the game with Robert Whatley’s extra point.

After a four and out by the Longhorns, the Cougars moved the ball down the field again beginning with a 48-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Michael Thompson to junior receiver Wesley Steadham.

Henry then took over running the ball five consecutively times, and scoring on a five-yard dive to put the Cougars up 14-7.

The Academy’s defense tightened up again on Marengo Academy forcing another punt to give their offense another chance at points.

This time it only took one play as Henry galloped around the left side and took the ball 41 yards to the end zone to give the Cougars a 21-7 lead.

After another Longhorns turnover on downs, the Cougars were finally forced to punt the ball, but it was blocked and Marengo took over deep in Cougars territory on the two.

They would be denied in their attempt at points though with a Ethan Linam’s helmet popping the ball out during the quarterback sneak with senior linebacker Will Hendrix being the man in the right place at the right time to recover.

The Cougars would move the ball, but fail to score before the half going into the locker room still up 21-7.

The Cougars’ offense opened the second half like they did the first scoring on their first drive going 65 yards in five plays with Henry scoring again this time from 20 yards out. With a two-point conversion, the Cougars went up 29-7.

Marengo finally got back on the board on their next drive going to the air on a big 38-yard conversion before tossing a three-yard pass to make the score 29-15.

On the following kickoff, the Longhorns made the mistake of kicking to Henry who boosted his all-purpose yards with a 74-yard dash through the Marengo special teams to score another touchdown giving the Cougars a 37-15 lead.

The Longhorns would again hurt the Cougars through the air driving down the field and making the score 37-21 after a nine-yard pass and catch.

Gibson said his defense played well, but noted their trouble in the passing game.

“Defensively, we made some good stops,” Gibson said. “We had a big goalline stand, and came away with a good turnover. We still need to stiffen up in our secondary because we are giving up too many big pass plays.”

Henry again showed why he is a workhorse as he carried the ball six times for 61 yards on the drive with his final touchdown coming on a 29-yard run to put the Cougars on top 43-21 early in the fourth.

Special teams would hurt the Longhorns again when the Cougars kicked off as defensive back Cameron McGhee knocked the ball loose from the Longhorns return man and promptly pounced on it in the end zone to put his team up 50-21.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Longhorns would make one final push down the field to get points on the board.

The score again would come through the air on a post corner to the end zone that put the score at 50-29 where it would stay until the clock ran out.

Gibson said the Longhorns really gave a great effort against his team Friday night.

“Hats off to them,” Gibson said. “They are a tough, scrappy football team that played hard until the final whistle. They should be proud of how they played.”

Next week, the Cougars travel to Prattville to take on Prattville Christian Academy. Kick off is set for 7 p.m. next Friday.

Escambia Academy junior running back Jaylen Henry speeds his way to a touchdown Friday night against Marengo Academy at Bachelor Field in Canoe. Henry’s offensive production sparked the Cougars has he amassed 386 all-purpose yards to lead his team to a 50-29 win.|Photo by Adam Prestridge