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Nettles scores 2 TDs, Cougars top Tuscaloosa Academy 21-6

EA escapes penalty-ridden contest at home

Escambia Academy’s Bubba Nettles scored a much-needed touchdown midway through the fourth quarter and the top-ranked Cougars beat Tuscaloosa Academy 21-6 tonight at Bachelor Field in Canoe.

Nettles’ touchdown came with the aid of backup quarterback Jacob Lee, who helped drive the Canoe team down to the red zone. Nettles took it from there 21 yards with 6:38 left and to much applause from coaches and the home crowd.

This was Lee’s first action as a quarterback when it mattered as starting quarterback Landon Sims was ejected from the game during the second quarter on a targeting penalty.

“We lost Red (Sims) in the first half, and it obviously hurt us,” Fountain said. “With Jacob Lee, that’s the first time he’s had substantial time when it mattered. He led us down for a scoring drive in the fourth quarter and that was good.”

According to unofficial stats, EA racked up 155 yards in penalties on the night.

Fountain said the team was trying to find itself all night.

“We just had so many penalties it just wiped us out,” he said. “We never could find ourselves. We just kind of kept putting ourselves in hole after hole. It wasn’t just the penalties. We had three turnovers in the first half.”

Two of the three turnovers were fumbles by Nettles. The other turnover was a fumble, where Knights’ linebacker David McNeil scooped and scored from around 30 yards with 3:33 left in the first.

“When you do that you really never give yourselves a chance to get going in a game we should’ve really been hungry for,” Fountain said about the penalties and turnovers. “Like we said, the effort was great, but the penalties and turnovers and stuff; it’s not something we’re going to be able to do and be where we want to be during the season.”

EA took its first lead of the game early in the second quarter on a 30-yard Nettles run with the extra point.

Throughout the night, and whenever the Cougars would drop back a few steps, their defense stepped up big time. EA penetrated the Knights’ offensive line during the contest, putting pressure on Tuscaloosa Academy’s young quarterbacks.

On one such play, the Cougars converted a stop for a touchdown.

Devin Kelly managed to pick up a fumble and ran it back with 1:55 left in the first half to help put EA ahead 15-6 with a completed 2-point conversion.

“They had hard time blocking us,” Fountain said. “Their quarterbacks were young. We put a lot of pressure on them. I think that was the really the biggest thing.

“Defensively, we played well,” he said. “Offensively, we just stopped ourselves. You’ve got to learn how to fight through what you’re going to fight through. In this game, we did eventually fight through it, but it just took us a long time to fight through. We were hoping it would be a lot quicker.”

Next week, EA (5-0) visits Chipley, Fla. in a regular-season contest.