Cougars fall to Lee-Scott; end season

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, November 11, 2015

AUBURN – Escambia Academy put up a good fight against Lee-Scott Academy Friday night, but the Warriors prevailed to win 35-24 in the quarterfinals of the AISA Class 3A state playoffs.

The Cougars and Warriors played a close first half, and traded scores in the second 24 before LSA took a lead it would never give up.

EA found itself driving the field on its last possession of the game, but couldn’t convert on a fourth down play.

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“We played hard,” EA head football coach Hugh Fountain said. “We just probably didn’t execute on that fourth down play. They sent everybody and blitzed us. I was proud of the way we battled back.”

Fountain said that Lee-Scott put together a good performance.

“Give them credit. They beat us,” he said. “When we had to make a play, we couldn’t. Give them credit, they’re a tough football team.”

LSA drew first blood after only two plays when stout running back Mitchell Lewis ran the ball 62 yards on a sweep play with 11:23 left in the first quarter. Lewis finished the game with five touchdowns on the night.

EA answered with a nice 34-yard Kainoa Gumapac pass to Louie “Trey” Turner. The Cougars trailed 7-6 after not converting their first extra point attempt. EA wouldn’t be able to cash in on extra point attempts the rest of the night.

After recovering a Lewis fumble and on the next EA offensive possession, Cougars running back Kris Brown made LSA pay with a 95-yard run for a touchdown with 10:02 left in the first half.

For much of the night, Brown was limited in the game after suffering a high leg sprain during a 20-8 loss at Bessemer Academy on Oct. 29.

Fountain said a lot of the younger players stepped up big for the Cougars, notably Patrick McGee, Turner and Fred Flavors.

“They gutted it out and played every down on defense for us, and played some offense for us,” he said. “I couldn’t have been more proud of Louie and Pat. They picked it up for us (Friday night). Kainoa had to do a lot more tonight. We moved the ball well the whole night. There at the end, we didn’t do what we needed to do in the end.”

Lewis scored his second touchdown with 6:55 left in the first half, and the Warriors took a 14-12 lead into the break.

Right out of the gate, the Cougars came out scoring on a 67-yard dash from Turner to take back the lead with 9:35 left in the third quarter. EA led 18-14.

After trading possessions and EA getting things rolling on defense, the Warriors found running room on a 21-yard TD rush from Lewis. With the extra point, the Warriors took a 21-18 lead.

However, EA answered back.

Gumapac found Pat McGhee for a 53-yard strike on the first play from the line of scrimmage to put the game back in the Cougars’ court.

The Cougars were able to hold Lewis on a fourth-and-two play to start the fourth quarter, but their offense couldn’t get anything going, deciding to punt with the down at fourth-and-three.

LSA then took its lead it would never give up on a 48-yard running score with 8:33 left in the game.

LSA scored its final touchdown of the night after putting together a more-than 5-minute drive to go ahead 35-24 with 47.6 seconds left.

With the ball and 39.9 seconds left in the game, the Cougars tried everything they could getting down to the Warrior 37-yard line, but didn’t get the ball in the end zone against the LSA blitz.

Fountain said most of this year’s offensive production is coming back next year.

“The seniors we’re losing are pillars to us,” Fountain said. “They’re good boys. They’ve worked hard, and done what we’ve asked them to do.

“The good thing is that 95 percent of our offensive production is coming back next year,” he said. “The future is bright.”

The Cougars ended their season 7-5.