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Clash of titans — EA to play Edgewood in 2015 opener

EA quarterback Kainoa Gumapac looks for some running room during a spring game at Edgewood Academy in May.|Photo by Ditto Gorme, For The Advance

EA quarterback Kainoa Gumapac looks for some running room during a spring game at Edgewood Academy in May.|Photo by Ditto Gorme, For The Advance

The eyes of the state — and possibly the nation — will be on Escambia Academy in August, as the Cougars try to end the country’s longest active winning streak.

EA will travel to Faulkner University in Montgomery on Friday, Aug. 21, where the Cougars will face Edgewood Academy at 7 p.m. in a battle of defending state champions. EA was the AISA Class 3A champion in 2014, while Edgewood won the title in AISA Class 2A.

Edgewood is also the owner of the nation’s longest current winning streak in 11-man high school football. The Wildcats have not lost in 58 straight games, and have a record of 89-4 since 2006.

Edgewood’s most recent defeat was a 13-12 loss to Glenwood School in October 2010. Since then, the Wildcats have won five straight state championships.

“We think it’s a great opportunity for our program to make a name for itself,” EA football coach Hugh Fountain said. “If we lose the game, we’re just ‘victim No. 59.’ But if we win, we break the longest winning streak in the nation. So why not go for it?

“We have a lot of respect for what (Edgewood) has done. They’ve been the marquee program in the AISA for the last four to five years.”

EA is no slouch opponent, however. In addition in playing in a higher classification, the Cougars also amassed an 11-1 record of their own in 2014, ending the season with the school’s first football championship. EA defeated Bessemer Academy 35-28 in the state title game in Troy.

Although EA has lost several key players from that team to graduation, the Cougars are returning plenty of talent as well.

“We have a lot of guys who played through that 11-win championship season and got some great experience from it,” Fountain said. “But at the same time, last year’s team never talked about the EA teams in the past, or the teams in the future. And that will be the same case with our 2015 team; they’re anxious to set their own mark.”

EA got an initial look at the Wildcats in May, when the Cougars played in a spring jamboree game at Edgewood. EA played one half against Edgewood, and the other half against Bessemer.

“We could tell that they had a lot of talent, but it’s important to remember that was a spring game and there are different rules,” Fountain said. “Plus, there are always changes from spring to fall. A good example is last year where we played Autauga in the spring game and won big, but then we had to hang on for a nailbiting win when we played them during the regular season.

“You can’t really read too much into a spring game performance.”

Edgewood and EA played three common opponents in the 2014 season. Edgewood defeated Fort Dale Academy 49-0, beat Morgan Academy 69-14, and topped Glenwood 48-7. EA defeated Fort Dale 54-12, beat Morgan 51-0 and knocked off Glenwood twice — 41-0 during the regular season, and 54-0 in the playoffs.

The nation’s longest high school football winning streak ever was De La Salle (Calif.), which won 151 games from 1992 to 2003.

Edgewood took over the nation’s longest active winning streak after two longer streaks were snapped in 2014. Ithaca (Mich.) fell in its state championship game to end a 69-game winning streak, and Bellevue (Wash.) saw its 67-game winning streak snapped in the state finals, as well.

Pahranagat Valley (Alamo, Nev.) has won 81 straight games, but that school plays eight-man football.

Edgewood also holds the state record for most wins in a row, having beaten the old mark of 55 straight wins set by Clay County from 1994 to 1997.