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Runaway for FDA

The only thing ugly about Fort Dale Academy’s 41-6 homecoming win over East Memorial Academy on Friday night was the weather.

The Eagles’ offense was humming.

No. 3 Fort Dale (6-1) raced out to a 41-0 lead in the first two quarters of play, rested most of its starters in the second half, and will likely face the top-ranked team in AISA next week in Monroe Academy. No. 2 Monroe Academy beat No. 1 Southern Academy 19-7 on Friday night meaning next week’s game could be a battle between the top two teams in the state pending a vote of the Alabama Sports Writers Association.

“I watched them on film this week for the first time,” said head coach James “Speed” Sampley. “They’re a really good football and they’ve got a lot of speed. They’ll be flying high because I think they’ll be ranked No. 1 now.”

Despite a 30 minute lighting delay and a field left muddy by a Friday afternoon thunderstorm, Sampley said the game against East Memorial Academy went about like he expected.

“It was a nice win in sloppy conditions,” said Sampley. “Everybody got to play. We outmanned them and I guess we pretty much got done what we needed to get done in the first half.”

Quarterback Hunter Armstrong connected on eight-of-11 passes for 158 yards in the first half, sitting out the second. Daniel Nolan led the Eagles’ ground game with 103 yards on six carries. Todd Burkett caught five passes for 93 yards.

Burkett also slammed the door on a Wildcats’ scoring opportunity in the first quarter.

Fort Dale mishandled the opening kickoff and East Memorial recovered inside Eagles’ territory.

On a third and one, Burkett closed quickly on the pitch play, dropping the Wildcats’ running back for a big loss. He then left most of East Memorial’s special teams grasping for air as the senior speedster broke several tackles for a 52-yard punt return into Wildcats’ territory. Burkett’s run set up a 38-yard touchdown pass from Armstrong to Nolan.

Nolan added a nine-yard touchdown with 5:25 left in the first quarter, bouncing a running play to the outside and outracing the Wildcats’ defense into the endzone. Burkett scored on a two-yard run and then Nolan had a 28-yard touchdown run with 10:51 left before halftime.

Defensive lineman Sean Harper recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass to set up Fort Dale’s next two scores. Armstrong hit Dustin Till for a 13-yard touchdown pass and then Manny Norrell scored on a 40-yard run with 3.7 seconds to go in the second quarter.

Miller Owens had 10 tackles to lead Fort Dale’s defense. Brandon Matthews added six tackles. East Memorial had 151 yards of total offense compared to Fort Dale’s 357.

Till and Andrew Callen also each had interceptions.