Published 12:05 am Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Cougars to visit Macon-East in AISA 2A semifinals

One game stands in the way of Escambia Academy advancing to the state championship as the Cougars visit Macon-East this Friday in the AISA Class 2A state semifinals.

The Cougars are coming off a monster 55-0 win over Cornerstone Christian in the first round. The Knights scraped together a 38-34 victory over Clarke Prep.

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Both teams are 10-1 on the season and are separated by two spots in the AISA ASWA state poll (EA is No. 4 and MEA is No. 6).

“Obviously, it’ll be a big game for us,” EA head football coach Hugh Fountain said. “They’ve got a good football team. We’ve just got to go in there and be prepared, and be similar to what we’ve done all year, and play football our way and not make mistakes.”

For the season, both teams have scored an average of 30-40 points per game.

The Knights started off their season a little slow in a 6-0 contest against Hooper Academy, and fell against Crenshaw Christian the next week.

Since then, MEA has scored 30 or more points per game.

MEA head football coach Glynn Lott said he’s proud of his team having the opportunity to be still playing this far in the season.

“They (EA) have a big physical team,” Lott said. “We’re going to be a lot smaller than they are, and more finesse than they are. The matchup will be interesting.”

EA quarterback Jabe Dawe, who had an impressive 157-yard game in the air and helped score three touchdowns, will be up against a duel threat quarterback in Macon-East’s Tucker Neven.

Louie Turner, Patrick McGhee and Fred Flavors, running backs for EA, will match up against Mike Murray and Colin Harris.

Lott said he swaps running backs in and out every other play during the game.

Receiving corps wise, EA’s Neikel Robinson and MEA’s Brock Taunton are the main targets for both squads.

“They’ve got a lot of good athletes that can do a lot of damage to you,” Fountain said. “It’s important for us to play assignment football to get us to where we’re supposed to be at, and then come out playing well in all areas of the game.”

The Knights run out of a spread offense with double trips, which is complimented by a 3-3 stacked defense.

Fountain said the big keys for the Cougars are no turnovers and cutting down on the penalties. EA only accumulated three penalties last week.

“The real key is don’t turn the ball over,” he said. “You can’t turn the ball over when you get in the playoffs. You can’t turn the ball over.

“We hadn’t been bad about turning the ball over,” he said. “We did turn the ball over in Autauga. When you turn the ball over and when you have penalties, you kill yourself.”

Fountain said it isn’t hard to keep the upward momentum going after coming away with last week’s victory over Cornerstone.

“It’s not very hard to do because we know there’s two games left in the season — maximum,” Fountain said. “We’re taking it one game at a time. We told them last week that we’re only promised one game. We attacked Cornerstone like it was the most important game this season for us, and it was.

“Now it comes down to really the same thing here,” he said. “We’re not looking ahead at all. We just want to win one game to get to the state championship game. Obviously, to get there, you’ve got to go to Macon-East to win this game.”

Kick off Friday is at 7 p.m. in Cecil.