By PAOLO GORME
News Sports Writer
Coming off a 39-18 rout against Abbeville last Friday, the Escambia Academy Cougars felt good about their home opener against Resurrection Catholic High School from Pascagoula, Mississippi. Last year against Resurrection Catholic, Escambia Academy fell to the Eagles in a heartbreaking overtime loss 21-20. This year, the Cougars won the contest in Canoe 42-21. Although by the end of the game it was a 21-point difference, it was a close contest mid-second quarter.
On the first possession of the game, EA quickly went 3-and-out. However, on the next offensive possession for EA, senior wide receiver Fred Flavors picked up a huge gain for a first down. The very next play Flavors caught a spectacular diving catch to put the Cougars in striking distance at the goal line. Senior running back Louie Turner punched it in for a 1-yard run and drew first blood, scoring the first touchdown of the night. The extra point was no good and the Cougars were up 6-0 early in the first quarter.
Later in the first quarter, junior running back Pat McGhee broke off with a long run to once again put the Cougars in striking distance. Turner capitalized on another 1-yard touchdown run. The Cougars went for a 2-point conversion and successfully executed with a short pass from junior quarterback Jabe Dawe to senior wide receiver Neikel Robinson making the score 14-0.
In the second quarter, after their possession resulted into a 3-and-out, Resurrection Catholic opted to run a fake punt against Escambia Academy and they picked up a first down. After keeping their possession alive, the Eagles scored on a 1-yard run by Cearly Parker IV cutting the lead down to 7 points. Flavors made a statement when he answered with a 55-yard touchdown run making it a 21-7 ball game.
Halfway through the second quarter, the Eagles scored a passing touchdown but did not complete the 2-point conversion and made the score 21-13.
Once again, Flavors came up with an answer on the ensuing kickoff fielding the kick and scampered down the EA sideline for 76 yards for a touchdown and tallied on to the score that made it 28-13 going into the locker room for halftime.
Coming out of the locker room, the Cougars struggled a bit on defense giving up runs that produced a touchdown and a 2-point conversion by the Eagles cutting the lead down to 7 again. At the 5:39 mark of the third quarter, EA fumbled the football and the Eagles recovered the ball but did not capitalize on the turnover.
The Cougars took over on downs and Flavors exploded for a long pitch and catch with 22 seconds left in the quarter. Turner carried the ball in from 10 yards out making the score 35-21.
The lone touchdown score in the fourth was by none other than Louie Turner on a 40-yard run.
EA racked up 306 yards on offense: 204 rushing and 102 passing yards with 11 first downs.
Head Coach Hugh Fountain had this to say about the game, “I thought that we hung in there pretty good and we didn’t have a very good third quarter because they moved the ball on us and we only had three offensive plays. The key thing for us was that we didn’t make a lot of mistakes, didn’t turn the ball over much and we’re proud of that and the win.”
Coach Fountain also commented that Flavors was outstanding in this game in many areas, as he totaled a whopping 240 all-purpose yards total.
“Fred was certainly a spark when we were getting a little shaky and he had an outstanding offensive game,” he said.
He also commended Turner’s workhorse performance on both sides of the ball.
The Cougars are 3-0 as they face the Chiefs of Northview next week in an anticipated rematch of last year’s contest. Go Cougars!