Cougars fall in AISA 2A state title game

Published 8:02 pm Friday, November 19, 2021

EA, AA battle in hard-fought effort; Generals win 52-37

MONTGOMERY — Battles, no matter how hard they’re fought, are either won or lost on the field.

Escambia Academy battled tough with Autauga Academy, but fell 52-35 today in the 2021 AISA Class 2A state championship at Cramton Bowl.

The Cougars fell behind early in the first quarter, brought the game back to within single digits in the second and fought to keep the game close in the second half.

EA quarterback Landon Sims accounted for five touchdowns — four in the air — in the contest.

Autauga Academy’s Robert Rose also accounted for five touchdowns in the Generals’ championship victory.

Scoring plays by quarter are below:

First quarter

Autauga’s Karl Ligon scored on a 4-yarder with 9:14. The 2-point conversion was no good.

Rose found Joshua Palmer for a 67-yard touchdown pass with 2:49 left, and the Generals led 12-0.

Second quarter

EA bounced back after getting back on offense on an interception catch by Sims.

From there, Sims found Maliki Haynes on a big play that led to a 12-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Lee with 7:25 left. The Cougars trailed 12-7.

The Generals answered on their next possession, driving the field to end in a 1-yard Ligon touchdown rush to make it 19-7.

The Cougars had an answer on their next offensive play as running back Bubba Nettles completed an 80-yard touchdown pass from Sims with 3:27 left in the opening half.

AA then hit a late touchdown on a 12-yard pass to Palmer from Rose to take a 26-14 lead at the break.

Third quarter

To start the second half, EA began utilizing its passing attack.

From there, Sims found Brady Howell on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 8:19 left and on fourth down. With the extra point, the Cougars cut the lead to 26-21.

The Cougars played with new hope a short time later as Sims caught an interception from rose with 4:59.

However, EA couldn’t get anything to go and AA took over less than a minute later.

From there, Rose found Jaylen Anderson on a 35-yard touchdown pass with 3:57 and the PAT was blocked.

Fourth quarter

Rose hit Anden Hilyer with a 23-yard touchdown pass with 11:49 to go.

EA answered on a Sims to Howell 33-yard touchdown throw some 3 minutes later to make it 39-27.

The Cougars got the onside kick, but got a turnover with 6:43 to dash any hopes of a comeback.

Rose then ran the ball in from 39 yards to give the Generals a 45-27 lead with 4:52 to go.

Sims then added another touchdown and with the 2-point conversion, the Cougars trailed 45-35.

Ligon then added a 56-yard touchdown run with 2:14 left to put the game away for good.

For the game, AA had 455 total yards compared to EA’s 392.

Rose was 10-of-23 for 260 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. He added 38 yards on the ground and one TD.

Ligon rushed for 161 yards on 28 carries and scored three touchdowns.

Palmer had four receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

Sims was 14-of-21 for 192 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions. He rushed for 93 yards on 13 carries and a score.

Nettles added 115 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown.

Howell had four receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown.