Eagles hope to #8216;get back on track#039;

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 14, 2005

Fort Dale Academy coach James &#8221Speed“ Sampley probably now buys into the adage &#8221if it ain't broke, don't fix it.“

Two weeks ago the Eagles’ coach decided to pull back on contact drills with the idea that it would save his players from injury. That thinking came back to haunt Fort Dale in its 27-12 area loss to Faith Academy.

&#8221We're healthy now, but we've got to work on getting back on track,“ Sampley said.

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The Eagles (5-2) opened the second half against Faith Academy by taking the kickoff at their own 7 yard line. From the beginning whistle in the second half until the final horn, Fort Dale battled poor field position. In fact the football only crossed midfield once in the half when Faith fielded a punt at its 45.

&#8221We were stuck in a hole, field position wise that whole half,“ Sampley said. &#8221We just played sloppy and our special teams were horrible. We've got to get better or we won't beat a good team.“

The Eagles seemingly take a week off this week by facing an unranked Cottage Hill Christian squad in a key area game in Mobile this Friday.

Fort Dale began a four-game stretch last week by facing the No. 6 team in the Alabama Independent School Association. After this week’s game with the Warriors (3-3), the Eagles close out the season at home against No. 3 Morgan Academy and on the road in Week 10 against No. 4 Patrician.

Cottage Hill reached the .500 mark by holding off Monroe Academy in overtime.

Derick Simmons rushed for three touchdowns, including the Warriors’ game-winner from 2 yards out to hold off the Volunteers, 21-20. Simmons finished the night with 140 yards rushing on 21 carries.

Cottage Hill ground out a win over Monroe Academy by relying on its ground game, but it can go to the air when needed.

Warriors’ quarterback Baedon Jackson completed 13-of-32 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown two weeks ago in a 27-13 loss to Mobile Christian.

&#8221Cottage Hill is considerably better coached this year,“ Sampley said. &#8221They are sound defensively, and they show you a lot on offense. They will line up with three in the backfield on one play and go to five wide on the next play.“

So with a grueling three-game stretch ahead for the Eagles, Sampley said that the pads will be popping with a little more enthusiasm during practices.

&#8221We did that to keep from getting anyone else hurt, but it also took a little edge off of us,“ he said. &#8221So we're going to get back to hitting. Not much can be accomplished when you are hitting a practice dummy than when you are in a live practice or scrimmage.“

Even with one loss in the area, Sampley understands the importance of winning out the next two area games.

Another loss could cost the Eagles a shot of hosting a first-round playoff game.

&#8221We need to win theses game down the stretch,“ he said.