Cougars open season Friday

Published 8:15 am Wednesday, August 17, 2011

EA quarterback Michael Thompson and the Escambia Academy Cougars will extend their winning streak over the Sparta Warriors to three games.|File Photo

The Cougars of Canoe open the 2011 season Friday with aspirations of a championship run on their mind.

Those aspirations begin with a road game against rival Sparta Academy when the Cougars head to Evergreen to take on the Warriors.

Escambia Academy currently holds a two-game winning streak over the Warriors including last year’s 39-0 victory in Canoe.

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With the season here, the Cougars are ready to hit someone other than a teammate, Cougars head football coach Heath Gibson said.

“We are just excited to finally get to go play, Gibson said. “I feel like the team’s ready and the kids are at the point where they are practicing every day and hitting each other. They are ready to play somebody else.”

To prepare for the Warriors, the Cougars are looking at what the Warriors did in 2010.

Not having film limits what the Cougars can prepare for, Gibson said.

“We are basiscally going off of what they did last season,” he said. “Being the first game of the season, we don’t have any kind of film on them, so we just have to look back at what they did last year and judge that. We focus on the roster with who graduated and who they brought back. We feel like they are going to be in a veer on offense. Defensively, they showed several formations last year, so we have to be prepared for anything and everything. It’s a rivalry game, so they will be just as excited as we are about it.”

While preparing for the Warriors, the Cougars are fixing their own issues in practice.

Offense and defense are still working to perfect the little things, Gibson said.

“Offensively, we are honing in our time,” he said. “If we don’t get that down then we won’t be successful because that it’s important in our system. Defensively, we are just keeping the kids hungry and wanting to hit somebody. We’ve pulled them back this week to get their legs back under them, but they will be ready to go Friday.”

The Cougars bring a senior heavy team into 2011, which is something that Gibson is excited about, he said.

“The most exciting thing is having 16 seniors,” he said. “To go down to Sparta and have that many seniors who can play the game. Having 35 guys on the team who can play from ninth through 12th grade is very exciting.”