Escambia High Gators: Schedules and Varsity Game Summary

PHS tops Escambia, but misses postseason
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Written by PNJ Reporter: Jason Blakeney
As Pensacola High wrapped up a 24-3 win against rival Escambia, the Tigers’ sideline was subdued.
It was a big win, the 11th consecutive year the wash boiler has returned to the PHS trophy case, but it also marked the end of the Tigers’ season.
Milton’s win against Pine Forest means PHS won’t make an appearance in the postseason this year. It’s the first playoff miss for the program since 2006, a result the Tigers learned as the clock wound down on their victory.
“I said at the beginning of the year that somebody would get in (the playoffs) with two losses,” PHS coach Mike Bennett said. “We had our chance against Pine Forest and didn’t win the football game and it came back to haunt us.”
The win Friday night at Jim Scoggins Stadium, though, was typical Pensacola High. The Tigers used defense and special teams to set up their offense and pull away in the second half.
Leading 10-3 at halftime, neither Pensacola High nor Escambia could get going on offense. That’s when the PHS special teams came to life.
Reggie Warren pulled in the punt at his own 40 and started to his right; he then worked back to his left, slid behind a wall of blockers and outran the Gators to the end zone.
Warren also had a big night on defense in his last game for the Tigers.
“Reggie Warren’s a great player,” Bennett said. “He’s a great player, he’s a leader on defense and we’re going to miss him tremendously. Someone is going to get a great college football player.”
Nathaniel McConnico got the scoring started with a 5-yard pass from Blake Norwood with less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Senior kicker Paxton Lyons added a 35-yard field goal late in the second quarter before Escambia’s Patrick Mackovic cut the lead to 10-3 with a 31-yard field goal just before the half.
Warren put PHS up 17-0 with his punt return, and senior quarterback Taylor Nunnelee capped the game’s scoring with a 1-yard dive with less than a minute remaining.
Despite missing the postseason, Bennett said he’s proud of his senior class. Many in the group were part of the Tigers’ 2009 state championship squad as freshmen.
“There are a lot of seniors who had never played before, and they won a lot of games while they were here,” Bennett said. “It’s a great feeling for these guys. We’d like to keep playing, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
This loss was especially difficult for Escambia which, with a win, would have forced a shootout at Pace High on Monday.
“It’s very unfortunate, especially when you hear Milton won,” Escambia coach Willie Spears said.
“We didn’t get it done. We just didn’t get it done offensively and on special teams.”
First Quarter
PHS — Nathaniel McConnico 5 pass from Blake Norwood (Paxton Lyons kick) 1:22

Second Quarter
PHS — Paxton Lyons 35 FG, 1:39
Esc — Patrick Mackovic 31 FG, 0:01.5

Fourth Quarter
PHS — Reggie Warren 60 punt return (Lyons kick) 9:55
PHS — Taylor Nunnelee 1 run (Lyons kick), 0:57.7

1st 2nd 3rd 4th Score
Escambia

0

3

0

0

3

Pensacola

7

3

0

14

24