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Fort Dale to host 7-on-7 camp

With the high school football season closing in fast, coaches are looking for every opportunity to get their team extra practice.

Fort Dale Academy’s football program is giving coaches that opportunity by hosting its third annual 7-on-7 passing camp beginning Monday.

&uot;It’s just like getting a free week of practice in the middle of July each year,&uot; FDA Head Football Coach James &uot;Speed&uot; Sampley said. &uot;It’s just an opportunity to work with your team early. It’s really good for the offensive side of the ball especially the quarterback because he has to come off his primary receiver and he also gets to handle the ball and run routs. The defense just gets to work on dropping in their zones and running with their man.&uot;

Lowndes Academy, Springwood, Lee-Scott Academy, Macon-East and Pike Liberal Arts School will join Fort Dale as they all take part in the camp. Eight teams competed in the inaugural camp and six attended last year. Sampley believes having just six teams helps the camp run smoother.

&uot;As long as we get six teams it’s pretty easy to make a schedule and make sure everybody gets their 16 games in,&uot; he said. &uot;Most of the time we have the same teams coming back. This year Edgewood didn’t come because two of their quarterbacks signed up for other camps.&uot;

Sampley said he decided to host a passing camp to help save money because the Eagles used to attend camps. By hosting the program receives $25 per player, which helps offset expenses.

During the camp, each team will play 16 games consisting of two 12-minute quarters on a 45-yard field with a three minute halftime. One team will play offense during the first quarter and defense during the second. The objective is to complete passes and score more touchdowns than the other team.

Besides having the opportunity to get some practice in, Sampley believes the camp also helps in conditioning his skilled players.

&uot;It’s good because you do a lot of running, so it’s good for conditioning,&uot; Sampley said. &uot;We don’t throw it that much and it allows us to throw the ball and see what’s going to work for us during the season.&uot;

The Eagles finished 7-4 last season and were eliminated in the first round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s Class AAA state playoffs with a loss to Pickens. Sampley hopes the camp will be the beginning to an improved season.