By JOSH FRYE
Escambia Academy’s Cougars gained the first region win of the 2019 season last Friday, September 13, romping past the Clarke Prep Gators by a 38-14 score in Grove Hill.
The Cougars started the scoring early when Tyrese Smith picked up a Clarke Prep fumble and went 12 yards into the end zone. Landon Sims tacked on the extra point kick, and EA took a 7-0 lead.
The Cougars defense came up huge again with another recovery of a Gator fumble with 6:59 left in the first quarter.
EA’s Shannon Wheat apparently capped off the ensuing drive with a 35-yard touchdown run, but a targeting penalty wiped out the score. On the next play after a Daughtry McGhee run gave the Cougars good field position, Sims handed the ball off to Wheat, and it was off to the races again.
Wheat covered 30 yards for the TD, and Sims followed through with the extra-point kick to extend the lead to 14-0 with 4:55 remaining in the first period.
With 8:29 left in the half, Sims dashed 20 yards on a quarterback keeper before being stopped on the 1-yard line. Sims leapt over the back of a lineman and into the end zone on the next play, extending EA’s lead to 21-0.
The Gators attempted a series of long passes on the next drive but were unsuccessful and turned the ball over on downs.
The EA offense then attempted to put together another scoring drive, but Sims was shaken up on a late hit, and Cameron Cloud took over at quarterback. Cloud launched a 30-yard pass to Tiquale Taylor on the first play, setting up a Jabo Davis 20-yard touchdown run.
Orlando Medina’s extra-point kick extended the lead to 28-0 with 1:28 left to play in the half, and Bryant Quimby’s interception kept the Gators from cutting into the lead.
Sims and McGhee had runs that helped move the ball into position for a 40-yard Medina field goal making it 31-0.
Clarke Prep attempted a late rally against EA, scoring on a 29-yard touchdown pass with 10:46 left in the contest and later capitalizing on a Cougars fumble to score on a 3-yard run set up by a 40-yard pass.
Those scores trimmed the Gators’ deficit to 31-14, but a 51-yard touchdown run from Christian Crook, followed by Medina’s PAT kick, provided the final margin.
Individual stats had not been made available by Tuesday’s press time.
EA will travel to face Jay (Fla.) this Friday, September 20.