BY JOSH FRYE
If things continue as they have over the past few weeks, Escambia Academy could be on the way to another Alabama Independent School Association state championship appearance.
Landon Sims and Bubba Nettles again led the way as the Cougars rolled past Springwood School 48-8 last Friday, November 6, in the first-round action of the AISA Class AA playoffs.
EA made quick work of the Wildcats, scoring 36 points in the first quarter.
Sims kicked off the scoring rally with a 50-yard punt return with just under 10 minutes left to play in the first quarter, then kicked the PAT for a 7-0 lead.
Nettles kept the scoring train rolling with a 5-yard touchdown run on the next EA drive, and JJ Stevens punched in an extra two points after the touchdown, giving the home team a 15-0 advantage.
With just over four minutes left in the opening quarter, Devin Kelly recovered a fumble and ran 50-yards with it, Sims added the PAT kick, and the rout was on.
Sims found the endzone for a second time on a 5-yard scamper with just under three minutes left in the opening quarter, then, with 27 seconds left, he connected with Randall Bonds on a 44-yard TD strike, giving EA a huge, 36-0, lead going into the second quarter.
Nettles finished up the night’s scoring for the Canoe team during the second period, scoring on a 14-yard dash into the endzone and got his third TD of the night when Sims hit him with a 14-yard dart.
EA maintained a commanding 48-point lead at halftime.
EA head coach Hugh Fountain emptied his bench in the second half, allowing his younger players to help close the game out and exposing them to some varsity playing time. The younger players held Springwood to just one score.
With the win, EA advances to the state quarterfinals, where the Cougars will host Macon-East Montgomery this Friday, November 13. Macon-East will enter the contest with an 8-3 record, while EA will take the field with a record of 9-1.
The last meeting between the two teams took place during the AISA Class AA state semifinals in 2017. After defeating Macon East, 50-13, the Cougars went on to win the state title, defeating Autauga Academy in the championship game.
A victory over Macon-East would send EA into the state final, where they will face the winner of this week’s Edgewood Academy-Chambers Academy contest on Friday, November 20.