Franklin Academy Cougars will host their first home game of the 2019 football season against Christian Collegiate Academy (CCA) Friday night.
Both teams are coming off tough losses the previous week. FA loss to Tensas Academy 56-8 and CCA loss to Prentiss Christian 42-6.
Head Coach Bubba Ezell said both FA and CCA are similar sized schools and play a similar type of football. If FA can contain their star quarterback, they should see success, Ezell said.
“They play a lot of one-on-one football,” Ezell said. “They use their quarterback on many of the plays.”
The junior varsity game starts at 5 p.m. at Cougar Field and the varsity game starts at 7 p.m. Friday night.
In the TA game, the Chiefs used their size and speed to get past the Cougars. Although, the Cougars did see success in the second half as they started to contain the larger team.
In the jamboree, FA showed promise as they held a tough district foe, Claiborne Christian to a 0-0 tie.
The Cougars could have come away victorious against Claiborne when they had a touchdown called back during the contest.
“I feel really good about how we played against Claiborne Christian,” Ezell said. “It is great for us to go out on the field at the jamboree and walk away with a 0-0 tie.”
In the first scrimmage, the Cougars faced Prairie View Academy but was hampered with penalties in a 12-0 loss.
“This was the first time we had been on the field against another opponent,” Ezell said.
During the first part of the season, the Cougars will be “playing up,” in order to get ready for a strong district run. Ezell said. Additionally, the team has hit the weight room this summer.
“All summer we have worked out three times a week,” Ezell said.
A couple of weeks before the season, the Cougars participated in two-a-day practices to further strengthen the program.
“We have some really good athletes on this team,” Ezell said. “My coaching staff and I are in this for the long haul. We want to build a program and this is part of it.”
Ezell, pastor of First Baptist Church in Gilbert, coached FA’s Pee Wee team to back-to-back Swamp Bowl championships the past two seasons, but this marks his first experience at both the varsity and 8-man levels.
“In 8-man football, you want to create one-on-one match ups and get the ball to your best athletes in space,” Ezell said. “We want to get the ball in the hands of Robbie Magee, Trace McCurley and Eli Smith and use their athleticism.”
Ezell, who will coordinate the defense, brought in a highly-qualified fellow Baptist preacher to run the offense. Jim Savage, the pastor of Sardis Baptist Church, brings a wealth of experience to the Cougars. Like Ezell, this is Savage’s first venture into the 8-man brand.
Savage was the running backs coach for the Washington Redskins and coached at University High and ULL (Louisiana Lafayette.)