Prep kickoff days away

Published 11:13 am Wednesday, August 29, 2012

All three local high schools will have season games this Friday. Both Escambia County High School and Northview High School will open their regular seasons with home games, while Escambia Academy will hit the road for their second game of the year. A quick look at each of the three:

In what might be the headline match up of the week, long-time rivals Escambia County and T.R. Miller will play at Herbert Barnes Stadium. Escambia County lost the game last year by a final score of 35-31, but won the year before in overtime by a final score of 35-34.

Visiting coach Jamie Riggs noted how close games in this rivalry have been in recent years.

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“It seems like the last six years, it’s been a nail-biter,” Riggs said. “It always seems like someone’s trying to score at the last minute.”

The home team has had success in recent years, so Riggs is hoping to see a lot of Tigers fans make it to Atmore.

“Crowds do affect that,” Riggs said. “I think we’ll bring a crowd down there to Atmore.”

T.R. Miller defeated Flomaton in their preseason game this past Friday by a final score of 21-0. Meanwhile, Escambia County struggled in their preseason game against Saraland, losing by a final score of 37-0.

Head coach Lev Holly said he hopes his team will use the game against Saraland as motivation for the contest against T.R. Miller. Riggs said he knows Holly’s squad will, at the very least, be well coached.

“First of all, I certainly know their new coach and the experience that he has had and the success he has had at Jackson,” Riggs said.

Escambia County will host T.R. Miller at Herbert Barnes Stadium Friday at 7 p.m.

The Northview Chiefs open their season at home against John Paul II Catholic in Bratt Friday night. The two teams did not play each other last season. John Paul II Catholic of Tallahassee, Fla. has already begun their season, winning their opener 35-33 over Brookwood (Ga.). The team was led by quarterback Marshall Moyle, who threw four of his five total touchdown passes in the second half. The team finished 0-8 with a split squad last season, but this year’s team will be their first full varsity squad in four years. They feature first-year head coach Scott Houston. The two teams did not play each other last season.

Northview lost their jamboree game to Bay High School 14-7. La’Mikal Kyles accounted for the team’s only score in the game. New starting quarterback Kevin Vaughan also played well, but transfer student and standout safety Neiko Robinson showed why he is so highly touted.

The Northview Chiefs host John Paul II Catholic in Bratt Friday at 7 p.m.

The Escambia Academy Cougars will travel to Hooper Academy to take on the 1-1 Colts. Hooper is coming off a 45-14 victory against Kingwood Christian on the road. The Colts are coached by second-year head coach Zach Golson. They finished the 2011 season with a 6-5 record. The two teams did not play each other last season.

While the Cougars lost their home opener that literally came down to the final second, they played a ranked opponent, battled   injuries and came out just one yard shy of a game where the scoreboard ultimately read 21-14 in favor of visiting Fort Dale. Head coach Hugh Fountain believes his team will learn from the loss.

“It should be a building block so that when we come to practice on Monday, we come out ready to roll and ready to get focused more on what it’s going to take to be good,” Fountain said. “So, hopefully, we can do that.”

It remains to be seen whether explosive wide receiver Tehron Stallworth will be able to play in Friday’s game after getting hurt in the game against Fort Dale, but if he is not ready to go the team found an unexpected player ready to fill his shoes in Winston Barron. Fountain definitely liked what he saw out of Barron on Friday night and expects to use him more as the season progresses.

“Well, it’s obvious we incorporated him a lot tonight,” Fountain said after Friday’s match up. “But he actually made some great plays for us in the game. He’s just a sophomore, too. So, we’re pretty young there, but he did a lot of good things for us and he made a lot of big plays catching the ball at the end of the game. Obviously, he’s got a lot of work to do, but he did do some good things for us. So, obviously, the more good you do, the more you’ll be incorporated in.”

Escambia Academy travels to Davis Henry Field to play Hooper Academy Friday at 7 p.m.