EA preparing for tough schedule

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Escambia Academy opens the season on Aug. 19 with a game against Sparta Academy.|File Photo

Leadership is the term that Escambia Academy head football coach Heath Gibson uses the most when describing the team he will have in 2011.

After a 7-6 campaign in 2009, the Cougars fell back to 4-7 in 2010 because of what Gibson says was a team with no clear cut leaders.

Now as the Cougars are less than two months from the beginning of the football season, they are preparing to battle against a tough schedule with a new set of leaders, according to Gibson.

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“The schedule we face is the same as last season just flip flopped with home and away,” he said. “It’s a tough schedule with us being in the tough region of AISA Class 2A and our 3A opponents being three of the Top 4 teams from last year.”

The Cougars open the season on Friday, Aug. 19 with a road game in Evergreen at Sparta Academy, which is a game they won last season 39-0. If the Warriors are down again then it could be an easy win, but after that the schedule toughens up.

The next three weeks will feature region play against Clarke Prep on Aug. 26 in Canoe and Jackson and Marengo academies on the road the following two weeks.

Following that will be the Cougars first game against a Class 3A opponent with Prattville Christian coming to Bachelor Field.

The Jackson and Prattville games could be tough depending on how those schools reloaded, Gibson said.

“Jackson and Prattville Christian are a couple of schools who have done a good job picking up players,” he said. “They have hit it hard recruiting guys to come play, and they could be tough to deal with. In private school, the schools that go out and recruit the talent are the ones that get to the top, and they both have done an excellent job.”

After their match up with Prattville, the Cougars dive back into their region taking on Patrician (Sept. 23 at home), South Choctaw (Sept. 30) and Southern Academy on Oct. 7 in the Cougars’ homecoming game.

Following homecoming the Cougars spend the next two weeks on the road with a game at Wilcox Academy on Oct. 14 and a match up with the Fort Dale Eagles on Oct. 21. The Cougars then close out the season with a game against their rivals the Monroe Academy Voluneteers on Oct. 28.

The game against Monroe will be another tough fight despite the Volunteers losing several seniors, Gibson said.

“Monroe had a large class of seniors, but they always reload,” he said. “It will be a tough game, but I’m hoping we can get a win over them this season.”

Looking at the slate of 11 games is something that Gibson is constantly doing. He is preparing himself and his team for what they will have to face this season.

With the leaders that are forming for the Cougars, a winning season and the playoffs are a distinct possibilty, Gibson said.

“I think we can be successful after the spring training we had,” he said. “I have a good feeling with the leaders that are stepping up and holding the team accountable. We have 15 seniors, so we could make a run and have a lot of success.”