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Autauga, Escambia tangle in AISA showdown

Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher

Photos Courtesy of AA/EA Athletics

CENTRAL ALABAMA SCOREBOARD OFFICE – AISA Football fans aren’t going to have to wait until next month to get a dose of playoff football as the league’s top two teams are set to tangle Friday night. No. 2 Autauga Academy hosts No. 1 Escambia Academy in a game that will determine region bragging rights and more than likely home field throughout the playoffs.

“AISA playoffs aren’t like AHSAA,” said Hugh Fountain, Escambia Coach. “It’s not where it changes based on travel, like in public school. Here, if you win home field you have it up until the state championship game. Our goal, it’s always to be the region champion. But – since we’ve been playing in the state championship game – that becomes the goal. We want to play at a championship level so when that opportunity comes, we’re prepared. That’s why we go out and play the Pike’s and the Glenwood’s and the Florida high schools.”

Both Autauga and Escambia have stepped out of league play to compete against high schools in Florida – going undefeated against them.

Escambia, on Friday, knocked off Chipley 22-7. Autauga defeated Munroe 21-12 and, earlier defeated Chiles 42-7.

“Playing the Florida schools gives us the chance to see the speed of the game and be prepared for that because this is probably the best Escambia team I’ve coached against,” said Bobby Carr, coach of the Autauga Academy Generals. “If we can avoid the injury bug and go into the game healthy, I think we’ll be okay.”

This was supposed to ban off week for Escambia. But that changed. Looking at stats from Escambia’s win over Chipley, the Cougars held the Tigers to 13 yards rushing on 27 carries and 40 yards of total offense. On the other hand, Escambia amassed 347 yards. Landon Sims finished the night with 229 all-purpose yards (20 carries for 167 yards and a score / 3-of-7 passing for 62 yards and a score / 41-yard field goal)

But he wasn’t the lone Cougar on the prowl. Christian Crook finished the night with 74 yards rushing and a score on 12 carries.  Maliki Haynes reeled in a 47-yard touchdown pass tossed by Sims.

Kevin Farrish and Nick Cain were key to the Cougars’ defensive success. Farrish recorded two sacks and caused a fumble. Cain recorded two tackles for loss.

Fountain: “We want to go out and play in an environment that makes us uncomfortable. Some of these public schools we’ve played over the years have as good of athletes as you’ll see in the AISA. An off week isn’t good for our program. The kids like to play every week and to play wherever we can. Because of that, we’ve played schools in Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida; we like to have good and viable competition used to make us better. We’ve already played Pike Lib and Patrician – the level of competition we are lining these kids up against makes them have to adjust and change.”

Carr shares that mindset. It’s also a chance for him to learn how driven his Generals can be when faced with adversity. Case in point: Carr missed all of last week due to Covid and Pneumonia.

Founder/Publisher of Central Alabama Scoreboard. Former sportsguy, managing editor, currently working for the City of Tallassee as a Public Information Specialist and grant writer.

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