By JOSH FRYE
Quarterback Landon Sims spearheaded the offense as the Cougars of Escambia Academy closed out the regular season and senior night with a 48-28 victory over Fort Dale last Friday, November 1.
Sims completed 8 of 10 passes for four touchdowns for EA, which wound up 7-3 on the regular season.
Tiquale Taylor opened the scoring, rushing in from 6 yards out, and Orlando Medina followed up with the extra point kick or a 7-0 lead.
With just over three minutes left to go in the first quarter, Jabo Davis rushed in on a 1-yard carry and the home team led 13-0, after Medina’s PAT kick fell short.
With 3.3 seconds left in the first period, senior Bryant Quimby added six to the scoreboard, bringing down a 14-yard Sims pass. Medina’s PAT made it 20-0.
The Eagles finally answered with a successful drive of their own to start the second quarter, but Ty Williams silenced that effort when he scored on a 90-yard catch and run of a Sims toss. Medina upped the lead to 27-7.
With seven minutes left to play in the half, Jason Helton picked up a fumble and ran 30 yards for a touchdown. Medina’s kick put the Cougars up, 34-7.
With just under four minutes left to play in the half, EA continued to punish the Eagles defense. Taylor scored his second touchdown of the night on a 45-yard strike from Sims. Medina tacked on the extra point, and EA went up 41-7.
With just over a minute left to play in the half, Chase Bell dashed 35 yards downfield, extending the Cougars lead at halftime to 48-7 after Medina’s kick.
With a massive lead at halftime, EA head coach Hugh Fountain brought on younger players to finish the game off.
EA did not score again during the game, and the Eagles fell 48-28.
“At halftime we were dominating,” Fountain said. “I decided to bring on my younger players to finish the game and to help keep everyone healthy.”
According to Fountain, the Cougars racked up 238 yards in the first half and ran the ball eleven times. In total, EA only had 21 offensive plays during the contest.
“They crowded the box on us, which helped put an end to our running game,” Fountain said. “We have been experiencing this over the last few games, and it forces us to go to the air more. Luckily for us, Sims is deadly accurate and our guys can come down with some big catches.”
Fountain stressed that such a defensive move does put a damper on game plans, but the team has been able to adjust and overcome the obstacles being thrown at them.
EA will host Lakeside this Friday, November 8, in the first round of playoffs.