By JOSH FRYE
Escambia Academy’s Landon Sims and Bubba Nettles scored two touchdowns each during last Friday’s (September 3), 34-14, defeat over the Patrician Academy Saints.
The Cougars entered the game as the number 1 ranked AISA team after defeating former number 1 ranked Pike Liberal Arts in the first game of the season and beating Glenwood on Friday, August 27. With hopes high to keep the Canoe train rolling, the EA Cougars prepared to face a tough, number 6 ranked Saints team. “They (Patrician) have a great team,” EA head coach Hugh Fountain said. “This is probably the best Patrician team that we have played. We both are physical teams who work very hard.”
The Cougars were slow during the start of the first quarter as EA fumbled on the very first drive of the game. Despite making a mistake which could cost them an early lead, EA bounced back and scored the first points of the contest through a Sims 10-yard dash. Sims also booted in the extra-point attempt and the Cougars gained an early 7-0 lead with just over 4 minutes left in the opening quarter.
With 2:18 left in the first quarter, EA’s Brady Howell broke free and ran nearly 60 yards, setting up a Nettles touchdown run. After missing the extra-point attempt, the Cougars held a 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Saints answered back with the first points of the second quarter by way of a 10-yard touchdown run and with 6:52 left in the first half, EA’s lead was chopped to 13-7. Following Patrician’s scoreboard comeback, EA’s Christian Crook broke free on a 34-yard run into the endzone, extending the Cougars lead to 19-7 after a failed Sims’ 2-point conversion attempt. The Saints, refusing to give up easily, closed out the first half with a 5-yard touchdown run that narrowed score to 19-14 at the half, despite a last-ditch effort by EA to lengthen the scoring gap.
With 5:32 left in the third, Nettles scored the only points by either side during the quarter with a 22-yard scramble for the endzone, extending the EA led to 26-14. With 6:50 left in the game, Sims found the endzone for the second time with a 35-yard scramble. Following the touchdown, Sims failed to connect with Nettles for an extra 2 points and the Cougars closed out the Saints, 34-14.
With the victory, EA sealed the first region win of the season and continues undefeated and holds the top slot in the AISA poll. Despite the solid ground the Cougars are currently on, Fountain stressed that EA has to continue to focus. “Region wins help,” Fountain said. “They help rankings and they get you into the playoffs. They also help give you the opportunity to host post-season games which give you an edge up when you are able to play at home. We have to continue to focus from one team to the next.”
EA will be on the road this week as they travel to face Wilcox Academy on Friday, September 10, at 7 p.m.