By JOSH FRYE
Daughtry McGhee, Randall Bonds and Christian Crook combined to help Escambia Academy clinch its third straight AISA Class 2A, Region 2 championship last Thursday, October 8, with a 33-0 win against arch-rival Autauga Academy.
EA became only the second team in AISA history to register a shutout of a Bobby Carr-coached team. The veteran coach’s only previous shutout loss was in 2006, when his Edgewood team was defeated by Bessemer, also 33-0.
After a slow first quarter, Bubba Nettles opened the scoring with a 1-yard run early in the second quarter for all the points EA would need. Landon Sims booted the extra point, and the Cougars had a 7-0 lead.
That lead was doubled when McGhee returned an interception for 30-yards and Sims booted the PAT.
Crook found the endzone for the Cougars before halftime on an 8-yard carry. The PAT attempt was unsuccessful, but Autauga trailed 20-0 at the half.
EA’s defense continued to stand strong against the Generals during the third quarter, and with just under nine minutes left, Sims scored on an 8-yard dash, then booted the extra point for a 26-0 Cougars lead. Crook sealed the deal with his second touchdown rush of the night, with 9:52 left.
“Our defense was tremendous,” EA head coach Hugh Fountain said. “Our key defensive player of the game was, without a doubt, (Randall) Bonds. He was a powerhouse, relentless and an inspiration to his teammates.”
Bonds tallied four sacks, batted down three passes and had numerous key tackles and blocks.
McGhee enjoyed 130 total yards, with 60 additional yards on two interception returns. He had 7 carries for 83 yards rushing, pulled in a pass for 28 yards and returned a punt 19 yards.
“McGhee has been an outstanding player,” Fountain said. “He has been a key guy for us all season and shines on and off the field.”
Crook also contributed a huge chunk to the victory, with five carries for 32 yards and two touchdowns.
“He played an outstanding game,” Fountain said. “He is one of these guys that puts it all on the line and plays hard every play.”
Nettles had 46 yards on 11 carries and totaled 68 yards on only 12 plays, and Sims completed five of eight pass attempts, carried six times for 27 yards and a touchdown and kicked three PATs.
“This win was tremendous for us,” Fountain said. “This has been a season of many outside obstacles and of major feats to overcome for every team. The guys have overcome every challenge and been able to accomplish things that others could not. They have remained focused, and we are looking forward to the playoffs and another chance at a state championship.”
The Cougars have this Friday off and have one region game left on their schedule, an October 23 matchup against Southern Academy. If the Cougars are able to fight their way back into the AISA Class AA title game, it will be their fifth straight appearance.
News photo by Ditto Gorme