By JOSH FRYE
Led by junior running back Bubba Nettles, Escambia Academy advanced to a 4-1 overall record after defeating Tuscaloosa Academy, 28-13, last Friday, September 25.
A J.U. Blacksher transfer, Nettles, who rushed for over 200-yards on 24 carries and had two touchdowns, has been a formidable force for the Cougars so far this season.
Nettles helped put the first points on the scoreboard for the Cougars during Friday’s game. His 38-yard run by Nettles preceded a 40-yard run by EA quarterback Landon Sims that gave EA an early 7-0 lead.
With 4:23 left to play in the half, Nettles scored his first touchdown of the night on a 35-yard run. Sims booted the extra point, and the Cougars led 14-0.
With 38 seconds left to go in the first half, the Knights finally put points on the board with a long pass, decreasing the Cougars lead to 14-7 at halftime.
The Cougar defense started the third quarter in strong fashion, standing up against Tuscaloosa offensive scoring opportunities, but Tuscaloosa’s defense met EA with the same resistance.
With 9:14 left to play in the game, Nettles once again helped gain life for the Cougars with a 44-yard touchdown run. Sims tacked on the extra point kick and EA led 21-7.
The Cougars got their final points with just under eight minutes left to go, when Daughtry McGhee tipped a Knights pass which was bought down by teammate Maliki Haynes, who ran the ball back downfield for over 70-yards into the endzone. But the play was called back due to a flag on EA, and another Knights touchdown pass cut the lead to 21-13.
EA’s McGhee later blocked a Knights field goal attempt and the score stood with 7:04 left to play in the game.
McGhee added the final piece of the puzzle with a 10-yard touchdown run with 1:36 left to play, and a Sims extra point boot provided the final point.
According to EA head coach Hugh Fountain, the Tuscaloosa defense played a scrappy game and the offense threw some hurdles at the Cougars.
“We dropped six or seven passes and we have to do a better job in that area moving forward,” Fountain said.
Escambia Academy will host area rival Northview (Fla.) High this Friday, October 2.