By GARRETT KIRK
News Sports Writer
The Escambia Academy Cougars played their final game of the season last Friday night, Nov. 2, as they fell to Tuscaloosa Academy 28-8 in the first round of the AISA 3A playoffs.
In the first half, the Cougars fought hard on defense, but their offense could not capitalize on the opportunities they were given. The score at the half was Tuscaloosa 14, Escambia 0.
The Cougars drove down the field on the opening drive of the second half but turned the ball over on downs and gave control to Tuscaloosa at their 30. After a few questionable penalties and a big play, Tuscaloosa scored again making the score 21-0. The Cougars tried to claw their way back into the game, but unfortunately they gave up an interception return for a touchdown, stifling another good drive which they failed to finish.
The offense did manage to score a touchdown on a 24-yard scamper by senior quarterback Michael Thompson. Nate Smith caught the 2-point conversion pass, making the score 28-8.That would be the last score of the game for either team.
It was a tough night for the Cougars on offense, picking up only 195 yards total in the game, and only scoring 8 points. While they drove the ball down the field on several different occasions, they couldn’t capitalize on attempts at the end zone, and the Knights defense played a sound game. The leading rushers for the Cougars were Tehron Stallworth with 11 carries for 60 yards and Michael Thompson with 12 carries for 51 yards. Michael Thompson also had 54 yards through the air.
While the offense didn’t play up to their standard, the defense for the Cougars played a solid game. They allowed only 264 yards and 21 points (the other touchdown was an interception) to a team who averages 49 points a game. The leading tacklers were Cameron Murphy with 11, Nate Smith with 6, Xan McGhee with 6, and Garrett Kirk and Winston Barron with 5 each.
The Cougars and Coach Hugh Fountain look to take their positive momentum into the off season and prepare to compete again next year with the majority of their team returning.