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A CLOSE CONTEST

Escambia Academy’s Kainoa Gumapac runs the ball during the Abbeville Christian game. Northview’s Luke Ward rushes for a gain.

Escambia Academy’s Kainoa Gumapac runs the ball during the Abbeville Christian game. Northview’s Luke Ward rushes for a gain.

Cougars, Chiefs to battle in 1st match up

Two local, yet familiar teams will meet on the gridiron this Friday night as Northview hosts Escambia Academy for an Alabama-Florida matchup in Bratt, Fla.

The Chiefs are coming off of a 70-0 loss to a much bigger Crestview, Fla. team, while No. 2 EA had an open week after defeating defending AISA Class 1A state champion Abbeville 41-12 on Aug. 19.

Cougars head football coach Hugh Fountain said the game is going to be a challenge for his team.

“They have a good football program,” Fountain said. “We have a lot of respect for (NHS head football coach Derek) Marshman and their program. We’re probably going into this game being a big under dog because we are not very big, but I still think it’s exciting for us to play somebody close because you can tell the excitement is a little more generated this week.”

In fact, this will be the first time both teams have played each other, a game that’s been in the making for a long while.

Marshman said the game will provide a great atmosphere.

“I think there’s going to be a huge crowd,” Marshman said. “Both schools will come out and it’s going to be a great atmosphere.

“They’re super talented,” he said. “There’s no way around that. They’ve got athletes all around the field. They’ve got some guys up front that are big, and if they’re not big, then they’ll make up for it in athletic ability. It’s going to be an uphill battle for us.”

Fountain said the big key in this week’s game is for the Cougars to play their game, not anybody else’s.

And this week is a good week for the match up because the players will take what they’ve learned from a big loss, correct the mistakes and apply what they’ve learned in the game against EA, Marshman said.

“I think it’s important to have these games because they’re good for both communities,” Fountain said. “It’s a big step for us because they’re such a larger school than us. By the same token, it’s good for both communities because people enjoy good football between people they know.”

Kick off at NHS Friday is at 7 p.m.