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Eagles victory, Macon-East loss gives FDA Region title

Fort Dale had a slow start against the Lee-Scott Warriors, but the Eagles eventually woke up and secured a home-field game in the first round of the playoffs with a 35-10 win last night.

And thanks to Pike Liberal Arts School’s 49-21 win over Macon-East in Troy, Fort Dale was also able to claim the Class AAA, Region 1 Championship as well. Lee-Scott had beat Macon-East earlier in the year, 20-19.

But for Lee-Scott, Friday’s game against top-ranked Fort Dale would be nowhere near as close.

“I think we just had a few more athletes than they did,” said head coach Speed Sampley. “We ran the ball well and threw well, but we had too many penalties.”

Penalties plagued Fort Dale in the first quarter, and that carried over into the second quarter.

A long touchdown run by quarterback Hunter Armstrong was called back because of holding, but on the next play, Armstrong connected with Luke Hutcheson for a 39-yard touchdown.

Although an LSA defender latched on after the catch, Hutcheson wouldn’t be denied and dragged the Warrior the final 10 yards into the endzone.

That play broke the ice for the Eagles, who started racking up the points.

On the ensuing kickoff, Sean McKeague executed a perfect onside kick and FDA recovered.

Only 15 seconds after the first touchdown of the game, Todd Burkett broke into the endzone with a 45-yard run to put the Eagles up 14-0.

Burkett also got into the passing action with a 68-yard halfback pass to Hutcheson with 1:45 to go in the half.

“Luke has made some plays for us all season long, and all our playmakers made plays for us tonight like they have been doing all year,” Sampley said.

Lee-Scott got a 43-yard field goal as the quarter expired to make the halftime score 21-3.

The Warriors came out on a mission in the second half, driving deep into FDA territory, but the Eagles held them to a field goal attempt that went wide left.

“The third quarter is really when the field position battle turned over,” Sampley said. “We took the wind in the fourth quarter, which meant that we were going into the wind when we were backed up in the third quarter.”

The Eagles mounted a drive in the latter part of the third quarter, and Armstrong hit Eli Blackmon for a 39-yard touchdown pass over the middle with 3:19 left in the third.

LSA responded with a touchdown, but the Eagles’ defense held tough in the fourth quarter, and Fort Dale milked the clock on the way to a 15-yard touchdown by Daniel Nolan with 1:18 left in the game.

Stephen Till and Daniel Lowe both had 10 tackles to lead the defense, while Cooper Lewis had eight.

Four players had a sack and Sawyer Reaves blocked a punt.

The Eagles’ offense was almost perfectly balanced, getting 228 yards on the ground and 233 yards through the air.

Nolan was the leading rusher with 15 carries for 115 yards, while Burkett had seven rushes for 78 yards.

Armstrong had 165 of the passing yards, and Burkett also contributed 68.

Hutcheson was the leading receiver with eight catches for 194 yards.

The win locks up a first-round home game for the Eagles in the playoffs, and FDA has an off week before beginning the playoffs.