Cougars now host Edgewood in AISA Class AA semifinals
By JOSH FRYE
Daughtry McGhee and Shannon Wheat scored two touchdowns each to help lead Escambia Academy to a 49-0 victory over Lakeside Academy last Friday, November 8, in the first round of AISA Class AA playoffs.
The Cougars kicked off the scoring early during the first play of the first offensive drive of the game on a Ty Williams 10-yard dash into the endzone after a short Lakeside punt. Orlando Medina tagged on the extra point, the first of seven he would nail on the night.
Landon Sims kicked off the second-quarter scoring, diving through the line on a 1-yard quarterback keeper, and the Cougars lengthened the lead to 14-0.
With just over five minutes left to go in the half, McGhee scored his first touchdown of the night on a 25-yard bolt into the endzone, and the Cougars led 21-0 at the half.
Sims picked up where the Cougars left off during the start of the third quarter, dashing downfield on a 30-yard run that set up a 7-yard Wheat TD run. Medina’s PAT kick split the uprights, and EA led 28-0.
With just under seven minutes left in the third quarter, Wheat shook off Lakeside defenders to score for the second time, and the Cougars led 35-0.
With 6:32 left to go in the third, McGhee struck for the second time, returning an interception for a touchdown, then Tyrese Smith closed out the scoring with a last-second, 32-yard haul during the third quarter. Medina’s PAT closed out the scoring, and EA claimed the 49-0 victory.
The contest marked the first time the two schools have ever faced each other on the gridiron.
“We didn’t know what to expect exactly,” EA head coach Hugh Fountain said. “You do not really get a feel for people until you play them some. We had film on Lakeside, but you still do not really know what to expect until you meet them on the field.”
With the win, EA advances to the AISA Class AA semifinals for the fourth year in a row. Going into Friday’s game, the Cougars had scored 15 touchdowns on 19 possessions over the last couple of weeks.
“They held us off at the start of the game pretty well,” Fountain said. “It is always kind of a stunner when you do not produce that way every time. Regardless of the score, they played a great game and fought back as any team does in the playoffs.”
The EA coach said his team still had some adjustments to make before this Friday’s home game against 9-2 Edgewood Academy.
“We have to work on ourselves going forward,” Fountain said. “I’m really proud of the guys for getting to this point. The start of the season was shaky, but they overcame adversity and made it to this point. It is not an easy thing to do. Going forward we have to work on our game. Playoffs are tough because everyone has the same goal.”
The Cougars, now 8-3, will host Edgewood in the semifinals this Friday, November 15.