Cougars working out

Published 4:41 pm Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Escambia Academy players work on their agility during a Monday morning workout, as assistant coach John Gartman looks on.

Escambia Academy players work on their agility during a Monday morning workout, as assistant coach John Gartman looks on.

Escambia Academy won its first state football championship in November, and the Cougars have already been hard at work this summer to continue that winning tradition in the 2015 season.

EA coach Hugh Fountain said that his players work out every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. They can either come to a morning session at 8 a.m., or an afternoon session at 6 p.m., although some players choose to attend both. Fountain recommends that players attend both sessions on Tuesdays.

The players work on agility and stretching for the first 30 minutes, then weight lift for about an hour, before completing the summer workout with conditioning exercises. Each workout is about two hours, Fountain said.

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“We’ve got a lot of very hard workers on this team,” he said. “I’m very proud with the effort that a lot of these boys have given this summer.”

Fountain said that the summer workout schedule will continue through the official start of practice, on July 29.

The Cougars are scheduled to open their season on Friday, Aug. 21, when they will travel to play defending AISA Class AA champion Edgewood Academy. Edgewood has a 58-game winning streak, which is currently the longest in the nation for 11-man football.

EA is the defending AISA Class AAA champion. Fountain said the game will likely be played at a neutral site, either at Faulkner University in Montgomery or at Troy University.

“Obviously that’s a very exciting game for us and we’re looking forward to opening the season with a great opponent,” Fountain said.

EA finished the 2014 season with a record of 11-1, culminating with a 35-28 win over Bessemer Academy in the state championship.

Fountain said that the excitement over that state title is still obvious, but this year’s team will have to chart its own path.

“We’re a brand new team,” he said. “We lost a lot of seniors from that team, but we’ve also got a lot of veterans returning. There’s a good mixture of veterans and younger guys, and it’s going to be exciting to watch them mature during the season.

“Obviously winning the state title is a huge thing for our program and our kids, because now they see the heights that you can achieve when you work hard. Now that we’ve already done it once, they see that the goal is attainable.”

Fountain said that the team’s players have attended a number of camps already this summer, including both team camps and individual position camps. The Cougars have attended camps at Troy University, Jacksonville State University, the University of Southern Mississippi, and even a camp at Prattville High School attended by University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.

He said that the team will likely participate in a 7-on-7 competition at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, sometime later this month.

Fountain said that in the last three years, the Cougars have either won the title, or lost to the eventual state champion in the playoffs. They have won at least 10 games two straight seasons.

“The kids in this senior class, all that they’ve ever known is a winning tradition at Escambia Academy,” Fountain said. “We’re anxious to continue that tradition this season. We don’t want to be an easy out for anybody. After we play a team, we want them to say that we played hard and we were a great challenge.”