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FDA readies for rematch with Pike

As if facing a top ten opponent this Friday night on the road wasn’t enough, Fort Dale head coach James “Speed” Sampley is worried about something he has absolutely no control over: swine flu.

“It scares me,” Sampley said on Friday night following the Eagles’ 38-7 trouncing of visiting Glenwood. “It can wipe you out.”

Sampley has reason for concern. Sampley said Glenwood was missing several players and at least 20 players from Pike Liberal Arts School, the Eagles’ next opponent, missed practices last week prior to the Patriots win over Hooper.

“It’s a big concern,” said Sampley. “Stillman (College) had to cancel their game for Saturday and they’re a college…how many players have they got? And they have to cancel a game? That shows you how this stuff can spread.”

While Sampley will spend most of this week trying to keep his team healthy, he also has to prepare for a team that had Fort Dale’s number last year. The Eagles lost to the Patriots 22-16 at home last season, then fell 20-17 in the Class AAA championship game in Troy.

The running back that was such a thorn in Fort Dale’s side last season, Jerel Foster, has graduated. But Sampley said his team will face a physical, hard-nosed football team in Pike Lib, much the same as the Patriots were last season.

Last year’s starter at quarterback, Trey Walters, also returns for the Patriots.

“They lost a few seniors, but I think they picked up a few new kids,” said Sampley. “They’re a physical football team and they’re going to be bigger then us.”

In the Eagles’ first two games, including a 52-6 thrashing of Prattville Christian Academy, Sampley said most of the offensive and defensive starters were pulled in the second half because the contests were so lopsided.

He expects his starters to play four quarters on Friday night.

“That’s another concern,” he said. “Our starters have mostly rested in the second half and they haven’t played a full game yet. We think we’re in good condition, but we really won’t know until they’ve played a whole game. We’ll find out Friday.”

Kickoff in Troy is at 7 p.m.