Cougars dominate in first win

Published 10:27 am Monday, September 17, 2012

Sophomore running back Winston Barron was the highlight of Escambia Academy’s first win of the season over the Warriors of Sparta Academy, scoring 20 points in the Cougars’ 47-6 victory Friday night in Evergreen.

Sparta found pay dirt first during the Cougars’ road game, scoring on the ground after an impressive first drive that was predominantly set between the tackles, but missing the extra point to give the Warriors the 6-0 lead with 11:46 left to play in the first half.

Despite a dominant performance in the first quarter, it would be the end of any success for the Warriors as the Cougars rolled through three quarters scoring 47 unanswered points.

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Fountain said he was proud of his squad’s overall effort as a team.

“We got to playing a little better, so I’m proud of that,” Fountain said. “It’s just a good team effort for us. We played pretty sluggish in the first quarter and we played better in the rest of the game. I was just pleased with the overall effort for us to fight through and win our first game of the year.”

Early in the second quarter Sparta put the ball on the ground for EA to recover, setting up a first and ten on the Warriors’ 42-yard line.

Barron tied things up with a 35-yard touchdown grab from Michael Thompson in the corner of the end zone, evening out the score at 6-6 after a missed extra point kick by Kevin Gumapac.

With 7:26 to play in the first half, Thompson showed he has talent on both sides of the ball, picking off a Sparta pass only to return the favor with an interception of his own, snatched from the air in the end zone by a Warriors defender.

Barron was once again the hero, however, responding with a 49-yard rushing touchdown on the Cougars next offensive drive to put EA ahead 14-6 with only 2:41 to play in the second quarter after he added a two-point conversion on the ground.

The Cougars would strike again on their first offensive play of the second half as running back Reid Bell found pay dirt on a 54-yard touchdown run to put EA up 21-6 after their extra point sailed right through the middle of the uprights.

Barron’s stats could have made EA’s win even more dominant had his third-quarter, 70-yard kick off return not been called back for holding. But Barron’s second 49-yard touchdown scamper of the game, only minutes later, gave the Cougars a big advantage anyway, as they led 34-6 with the final period approaching.

Entering the fourth quarter, EA head coach Hugh Fountain gave some younger Cougar players a chance on the playing field, substituting in quarterback Kevin Gumapac and his brother, the 4 foot, 2 inch eighth grade running back Kaino Gumapac, and the pair did not dissapoint.

With 7:34 to play in the game, Kaino found a seam, scoring on the ground up the middle to give EA a 41-6 advantage.

The Cougars could not be stopped late in the game as they punched the ball in the end zone off the legs of a second eighth grader, Timothy Finklea, giving EA a big, 47-6 win over the Sparta Warriors.

Despite a great overall effort, Fountain did recognize the standout play of Barron.

“He made a lot of plays for us,” Fountain said. “I guess he had some big plays for sure. He’s done that pretty much all season.”

Fountain also acknowledged the ability of his younger players to give the EA nation of glimpse of what is to come in the future.

“I think that was best thing,” he said. “I was proud we could play the young boys that hadn’t had a chance to play.”

Next week the Cougars take on Morgan Academy on the road, and Fountain said his team will not take the contest lightly.

“Morgan is a must win for us,” he said. “If we want to go to the playoffs, we have to beat Morgan. If we win the next two, we have four weeks to get better for the playoffs.”

The Cougars will square off against the Morgan Academy Senators next week, on the road, at 7 p.m.