Look at those Eagles soar!

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 27, 2001

Phenomenal-that's how you sum up a junior varsity team that goes 20-1 for the season, and brings home the State Championship.

That is what the Junior Varsity Eagles of Fort Dale Academy have done.

Under the expert guidance of Steven Kilcrease, the team has risen to the top of Mount Eagle, joining the legions of other athletes that have come before them, passing through the hallways of time at Fort Dale Academy.

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These young men have shown exactly where the Varsity Eagles Coach Reggie Mantooth goes to draft his equally talented team.

And then, of course, there are the Tornados, that have come all the way through the season, fighting against older, taller, more experienced teams this year.

Although I was at the press in Andalusia when the Tornados started their game against Catherine last Tuesday, Q-94 kept me in touch with it.

When they were at halftime, I was south of Red Level, and then as I crossed Hwy. 106 in Georgiana, they started the fourth period.

I could tell from the drones of fans cheering the team on in the background on the radio, that they were playing an outstanding game of basketball.

As I cruised into town, I reasoned that I would never make it over to Academy Drive in time to catch any pictures of this great game that was transpiring, but then I was greatly surprised.

As I came to a stop, the Tornados pulled off the first of two surprises.

Exuding from the talents of Jamie Parrish, the team scored not one but two three-pointers inside of the last eight seconds, sending the team into overtime.

Well, you could have knocked me down. I quickly sped (sorry, officer) across town, and got to Greenville Academy just as overtime play began.

I wouldn't have traded it in for anything to see the looks on those athletes' faces when they went into double overtime from Josh Burt's equally amazing talent.

When the game was over, and Jamie was being carried out on his teammates' shoulders, Coach Ronnie Pouncey was ecstatic.

They doused him with water bottles, and I don't think he ever knew it.

That is what real athleticism is all aboutnteam spirit.

Let's all say thanks to the coaches that mold our children into well-rounded, healthy athletes.

It does, after all, teach the kids life-long lessons, and it also gives them memories they will cherish forever.

We are on the down-slope of basketball season now.

As most teams have less than a half-dozen games left in regular play, I should not have been as surprised last night as I was when I drove past Beeland Park.

I am sure that once the wind was calculated into the temperature, the wind-chill last night must have been plunging around the 25 degree mark, but yet and still there were players out on the baseball fields, practicing in preparation for the opening day that will inevitably come.

As I got out of my car to go into the house I shivered, closed my jacket a little tighter, and could see that dedicated athlete standing out there in the outfield clapping his hands together for warmth.

I thought to myself, keep that deep left field warm, and I will see you out there soon.

And to think, it has already been seven months since football season opened up (and my eyes, when I finally realized how busy it got), things have not really slowed up any.

There are decidedly two nights a week for basketball-Tuesday and Friday, sometimes it is Monday and Thursday, just depends, I guess.

But one thing is for certain, I don't get as much time to sit in front of the one-eyed monster, being an armchair expert as I ever did before.