By PAOLO GORME
News Sports Writer
Physicality and clutch were the names of the game for the Escambia Academy Cougars when they battled against the Jay Royals this past Friday, Sept. 21. After a long game of trading scores and penalties, EA came out on top 30-20.
Early in the game, Jay caught a pick thrown by Jabe Dawe that stopped EA’s momentum from scoring from 35 yards out. Jay drew first blood and scored first in the second quarter after they recovered a fumble by Pat McGhee for 46 yards. The Royals elected to attempt a 2-point conversion and it was successful; they were up 8 to nothing with 7:46 left in the first half.
EA was scoreless until Dawe and Chase Bell connected on a 73-yard passing touchdown with only 54 seconds gone in the third quarter. The 2-point conversion by McGhee was successful and the ball game was tied 8-8. Halfway through the third quarter, Jay struck again, scoring from the goal line. Their 2-point conversion failed and the score was 14-8.
Forty-one seconds later, Pat McGhee scored EA’s second touchdown of the night from 81 yards out. Sam Martin’s extra point was good and the score was 15-14. A 34-yard touchdown through the air by Jay with 24.5 seconds left in the third put Jay up 20-15 after their 2-point conversion failed.
Both teams were penalized a good bit in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter, penalties like blocks in the back to unsportsmanlike conduct. Pat McGhee scored twice in the fourth quarter. He scored from the goal line with 9:09 minutes left and at that point it was 23-20.
EA’s defense came up huge for them late in the game with less than 2 minutes left in the game. Jay was on a third and 7 in the red zone. As the ball was handed off, the back fumbled the ball and Daughtry McGhee recovered the ball and ultimately led to Pat McGhee scoring the game sealing touchdown from 44 yards out with 56 seconds left in the game.
“We made critical plays at critical moments … We kept their drives alive and we have to go back and change that but we were fortunate to get the win,” Head Coach Hugh Fountain said directly after the game.
Pat McGhee finished with 256 yards rushing on 17 carries, and Jabe Dawe had 148 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception.
EA’s defense showed toughness as well and had a handful of sacks and a fumble recovery.
Bessemer Academy comes into town to visit the Cougars this Friday. The Cougars look to keep the momentum going and keep adding tallies on the win column.
Go, Big Red!