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EA wins state title, 35-28

Escambia Academy players celebrate their victory over Bessemer Academy in the AISA Class AAA championship game.

Escambia Academy players celebrate their victory over Bessemer Academy in the AISA Class AAA championship game.

TROY — The Escambia Academy Cougars beat Bessemer Academy 35-28 Friday night to win the AISA Class AAA state championship.

It is the school’s first state title in football.

Brett Gorum scored a 1-yard touchdown run with 49 seconds left and added the extra point. On the ensuing drive, EA’s Kris Brown intercepted a pass to seal the win.

EA’s other touchdowns were a 7-yard pass from Gorum to Maleek Salter, a 6-yard run by Brown, a 59-yard pass from Gorum to Scott Brantley, and a 19-yard pass from Gorum to Tim Finklea.

EA trailed 28-14 in the third quarter before mounting a comeback.

“I just feel complete excitement,” said Brantley, a senior. “There’s no words to describe it. This is what we’ve been dreaming about all year.”

The Cougars fell behind 28-14 with 4:27 left in the third quarter, but responded in a big way. After Brantley returned the kickoff to the EA 41-yard-line, Gorum then connected with Brantley for a long 59-yard touchdown pass. Gorum added the extra point and EA cut the lead to seven points, just 19 seconds after Bessemer’s touchdown.

“That was a big play for us,” EA coach Hugh Fountain said. “We knew we needed to get the momentum back and Brett made a great throw.”

During the regular season, Bessemer beat EA 32-14. Friday night, Fountain said the Cougars “cleaned up their mistakes” from that earlier loss to the Rebels.

“We were a lot more patient with our running game against them this time,” Fountain said.

EA also set a new team record for wins, after finishing with an 11-1 record for the season. The school’s previous record was 10 wins, which was achieved by the 1971 and 2013 teams.

To view a gallery of photos from this game, visit The Atmore Advance on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Atmore-Advance/83649498468.

For more coverage of this game, see the Wednesday, Nov. 26, edition of The Atmore Advance.