By JOSH FRYE
Escambia Academy’s Cougars fell just short last Friday, October 4, against the Bessemer Academy Rebels in a non-region game that featured five lead changes and left the Cougars with an overall record of 3-3.
Friday night’s loss was EA’s seventh setback in nine meetings against Bessemer.
The Cougars got off to a slow start, fumbling twice in a row. But both fumbles were recovered by Cougars quarterback Landon Sims.
Despite the near-disasters, the Rebels got on the scoreboard first on a 15-yard pass and with the PAT kick took an early 7-0 lead.
With just over three minutes left in the first quarter, EA fired back with a 45-yard bullet from Sims to Ty Williams for a touchdown.
However, an official mistakenly blew the ball dead before the play was completed, and the Cougars touchdown was called back.
Just under a minute later, Sims scored on a 40-yard quarterback keeper. Cougars kicker Orlando Medina set up for the PAT kick, but a bad snap halted the opportunity and EA trailed, 7-6.
As the clock ticked away the second quarter, the Cougars looked to provide the first EA lead of the game as Medina lined up for a 40-yard field goal attempt.
Medina’s three-point kick was true and gave the Cougars their first lead, 9-7.
Just over a minute and half later, BA fired back with a 30-yard touchdown pass and successful one-point attempt, retaking the lead, 14-9, but Sims dashed 10-yards for his second score of the night with just 30.9 seconds left, and Jabo Davis punched in a two-point conversion to give EA a 17-14 lead at the half.
Turnovers continued to plague the Cougars, and a third-quarter fumble by Sims led to a 4-yard Rebels touchdown that resulted in a 21-17 Bessemer lead.
EA fumbled for a fourth time, turning the ball over again, and the Rebels again took advantage. A 30-yard field goal capped the ensuing drive and stretched the BA lead to 24-17.
As the fourth-quarter clock ticked away, the Cougars fought to stay in the contest, but a fifth fumble, this one by Shannon Wheat, sealed the deal, and the Rebels made a final charge into the endzone to secure the 31-17 win.
The EA coaching staff had not made individual stats available or offered comments by Tuesday’s press deadline.
The Cougars will attempt to turn things around this Friday, October 11, when they host Hooper Academy in their homecoming game. The game is a Class AA, Region 2 game. EA currently stands atop region standings.