By PATRICK BYRD
News Sports Writer
The Escambia Academy Cougars were excited to finally play on home turf Thursday, August 31, after the game was moved ahead from Friday night. Their opponents, the Clarke Prep School Gators, marked the first region game for the Cougars.
The Cougar captains Quinten Odom, Luke Bell, Charlie Sasser, and Zeke McElhaney met the Gator captains at midfield for the coin toss. The Cougars won and chose to receive to start the game.
A 35-yard pass from Keller Coston to Odom put the first points on the board as the Cougars made a touchdown 2 minutes into the first quarter. Grant Sasser made the kick, giving the Cougars a 7-point lead.
The Gators responded with 6 minutes left in the second quarter, making a touchdown run with 10 yards. A good kick tied the game up at 7-7.
The Cougars struck back once again with 5 minutes before the half after Coston made a 50-yard touchdown run similar to the one seen in last week’s game against Valiant Cross Academy. The kick by G. Sasser was good, giving the Cougars a 7-point lead once again.
The Gators had something to say, though, when a player made an 80-yard touchdown carry upon receiving the ball after the touchdown by Coston, and a good kick brought back a tie at 14-14.
The Cougars added to the scoreboard almost immediately afterwards with a pass to Luke Bell for a 70-yard touchdown. The kick by G. Sasser was good once again, giving the Cougars another 7-point lead.
The Gators made 1 more touchdown in the last play of the half with a 4-yard pass, but the Cougars blocked the kick, keeping them from the tied score they wanted and leaving them down at 21-20.
The Gators gained the lead for the first time in the game in the third quarter, and succeeded with a 2-point conversion; this gave them the lead at 28-21.
The Cougars tied it back up halfway through the third quarter with a pass from Coston to Odom for a 60-yard touchdown, and G. Sasser’s kick was good.
The Gators made another touchdown with a 3-yard carry into the end zone; the extra kick gave them an edge over the Cougars with a 35-28 lead.
The Gators one again made a touchdown with a 4-yard carry into the end zone. The good kick extended the Gator lead to 42-28.
The Cougars responded with a 40-yard run to the end zone by Bell after a pass from Coston. G. Sasser’s kick was good, cutting the Gator lead to 42-35.
The Gators scored again with 5 minutes left in the game, and a good kick brought the score to 49-35.
The Cougars will be away Friday, September 8, as they play another region game against the Banks Academy Jets of Birmingham. The game will be held at Mountain Brook High School, and it will also be streamed live on EA’s Facebook and YouTube pages, so be sure to tune in as the Cougars fight for the playoffs!
News photos by Ditto Gorme