By JOSH FRYE
The Cougars of Escambia Academy are set to make their fourth consecutive appearance in the AISA Class AA State Championship game against the same opponent, Autauga Academy.
The Cougars earned another shot at the Generals by defeating Edgewood Academy 49-7 last Friday, November 15.
Quarterback Landon Sims and Shannon Wheat led the Cougars offense against the Wildcats, scoring two touchdowns each.
Sims scored his first touchdown with just over nine minutes left in the first quarter when he carried the ball in on a 10-yard quarterback keeper. The Cougars attempted a two-point conversion after the score, but an offsides call forced an Orlando Medina extra-point kick that missed the mark.
EA struck again with just over six minutes left in the first by way of Sims to Ty Williams 47-yard strike that was followed with a successful Daughtry McGhee two-point conversion, and the Cougars led 14-0.
With 3:58 left in the first quarter, Edgewood racked their first points of the game on a 12-yard quarterback keeper and the Wildcats trailed 14-7.
Tiquale Taylor helped set up the next scoring play for EA after bringing in a 30-yard pass. After the successful Taylor catch, Sims punched into the endzone, and the Cougars extended the lead to 21-7 by the end of the first quarter.
McGhee kicked off second-quarter scoring for EA by way of a 1-yard TD run.
Medina booted the extra-point for a 28-7 EA lead.
During the third quarter, Shannon Wheat tallied his first TD of the night through an 81-yard run. Medina booted in another extra-point, and the Cougars led 35-7.
With 6:39 left in the third, EA’s Petey McCants intercepted a Wildcats pass and return it 44 yards for a TD, putting the Cougars up 49-7. Wheat scored his second TD of the night on a 27-yard scramble in the fourth period. Medina kicked the extra-point, and the Cougars secured their chance at another AISA Class AA Championship win.
“We played a very good game,” EA head coach Hugh Fountain said. “We made minimum mistakes, and the guys were motived to win. The boys wanted to make it to the championship game.”
In the last three Class AA championship meetings with Autauga Academy, the Cougars have only defeated the Generals once. That win came in 2017, when the Cougars defeated Autauga for the Class AA championship.
Fountain knows the Generals will be a tough opponent again.
“It will be a hard-nosed game,” he said. “We are motivated to play them again. It will be a hard, physical game. Our key will be to eliminate turnovers and to execute when we need to. Our team has been more diverse this season with the absence of Patrick McGhee, and it will really tell who the better team is.”
The Cougars will meet Autauga Academy at Troy University’s Veteran Memorial Stadium at 3:30 p.m. this Friday, November 22.