Cougars fall to Patrician Academy 45-28

Published 9:22 am Monday, September 27, 2010

At home, the Escambia Academy Cougars dominate, but on the road they struggle, and those struggles continued Friday night as they fell hard to region foe Patrician Academy 45-28.

EA head coach Heath Gibson said his team’s struggles on the road has him scratching his head as they are currently .500 on the season with three wins at Bachelor Field in Canoe and three losses on the road.

“Right now we are just struggling on the road,” he said Friday night. “I guess we need to try something different. Something we are doing is not right.”

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Patrician (3-2) jumped out to an early 8-0 lead early in the first quarter, and later stopped the Cougars’ offense in their tracks forcing a punt. After a few defensive stands by the Saints and some quick work by their offense, Escambia Academy was trailing 23-0 as time ticked away in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, junior running back Jaylen Henry capitalized on a Wesley Steadham kickoff return that covered a lot of ground to close the first quarter, as he bulled his way in from two yards out to put the Cougars on the scoreboard. The point after was no good, but the visitors had cut into the home team’s lead, 23-6.

On the ensuing drive, the Saints’ offense sucked the wind out of the Cougars’ defense as they scored on the first play from scrimmage on a 61-yard run. The two-point conversion was good putting Patrician on top, 31-6 early in the contest.

The home team forced another EA punt and scored again with four minutes remaining in the half. With a successful two-point conversion, Patrician was in command, 39-6.

Escambia Academy orchestrated a long drive to end the half scoring on a one-yard quarterback keeper by sophomore Michael Thompson with 13.5 second remaining. Junior Braxton Chastang added the two-point conversion to make it 39-14 heading into the locker room at halftime.

The Cougars outscored the Saints 14-6 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to capture their fourth win of the season. Gibson said his team put forth a lackluster performance in the first half, allowing Patrician to get too far ahead to mount a comeback.

“We just came out flat,” he said. “We didn’t attack on defense or offense in the first half.”

In the second half, the Cougars struck first when Henry raced his way down the right sideline from 50 yards out. Senior Phillip Kabbott added the point after giving the visitors 21 points.

The Saints answered right back with a score of their own on a one-yard touchdown run padding their lead 45-21 following a failed two-point conversion.

EA scored its final touchdown of the game in the fourth quarter when Henry snuck in the end zone from three yards out. Kabbott’s PAT made the score 45-28 Patrician.

Gibson said he believes Patrician’s play on the offensive and defensive line proved to be the deciding factor in the game.

“It really just came down to they whipped us up front,” he said. “We’ve been whipping everybody else up front. They were more physical as a football team. When it comes down to it, the more physical team is going to win, and they were more physical.”

As for his team’s overall performance, Gibson was not pleased.

“When you lose, you don’t feel good, and I don’t right now,” he said. “We’ve got to go back to practice and hopefully get some confidence. I saw some bright spots, but I saw some bad things too.”

Henry finished the game with 188 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 19 carries. Thompson added 33 yards rushing on nine carries and one touchdown. He also finished six for 11 passing for 58 yards with one interception.

Junior Austin McGhee led the Cougars’ defense with 13 tackles followed by Hunter McKinley and Ethan Linam with eight tackles each.

Next week, the Cougars will have their work cut out for them again as they host another region opponent in Southern Choctaw.

“They have a great quarterback and throw the ball well,” Gibson said. “We are going to playing another good ball team, but the good thing is that it’s at home and we’ve been playing good at home.”

Kick off is at 7 p.m.

The Escambia Academy Cougars fell to 1-2 in region play losing to Patrician Academy in Butler Friday night.|Photo by Adam Prestridge