Eagles, Raiders share similarities
Even though the Fort Dale Eagles are on the verge of their first state championship, it’s not unfamiliar territory for the school.
Head coach Speed Sampley led the Eagles to the championship game in 2000, where they fell to Morgan 21-7.
Going back a few more years, the FDA Warriors were the state runner-up in 1979 after a 19-6 loss to South Montgomery County Academy.
However, this year’s Fort Dale team has a number of similarities with the 1978 South Butler Academy team, which claimed the AA title.
Although technically not a Fort Dale championship, the two schools combined in 1983 and the trophy resides at Fort Dale Academy.
Several interesting parallels can be made between the two teams.
Both teams had a regular season loss to their championship opponents.
SBA lost to Abbeville 7-6 in the second game of the season, which they avenged with a 20-7 win in the championship.
Fort Dale will face off against Pike Liberal Arts, who claimed a 22-16 victory in the third game of the season.
The only other regular season loss for both teams came at the hands of Edgewood Academy.
Both teams also had to go through their biggest rival to make it to the championship game.
SBA needed overtime to defeat Greenville Academy, and Fort Dale beat Morgan in the first round of this year’s playoffs.
Last but not least are the family connections.
Those include David Norrell, whose daughter Peyton is a cheerleader; Kenny Burkett, whose son Todd is a starter for the Eagles; Kenny Lowe, whose nephew Daniel is a defensive starter for FDA.
Many more family ties can also be found.
This Friday, we’ll find out if the Eagles will take the final step and bring home a championship like the 1978 Raiders.