Fort Dale spends offseason in camp, in the weight room

Published 5:41 pm Friday, July 2, 2010

Some team won Tuesday’s 7-on-7 passing camp at Fort Dale Academy. But head coach James “Speed” Sampley’s concern wasn’t with whoever did.

7-on-7 camps, for the Eagles said Sampley, are about getting better at what they do.

“I’m not trying to be ugly when I say this but some teams go to 7-on-7 camps wanting to win every game,” said Sampley. “We’re not trying to win it all. That’s not us…the defense knows you’re going to throw it. You have play action passing, but no actual hand-offs. 7-on-7 is not real.”

Email newsletter signup

Fort Dale hosted Prattville Christian Academy, Lowndes Academy, and Edgewood Academy Tuesday. Each team played the other teams at least once.

As for the records of the four schools when the day was over?

“Just guessing, I think Edgewood didn’t lose a game, Prattville might have lost one, we came out about even and Lowndes didn’t win any, I think,” said Sampley.

The Eagles’ first camp, said Sampley, was in 2002 when the team traveled to the University of West Alabama. The next year, Fort Dale started hosting the camps. The camps give quarterbacks the opportunity to work with their receivers in a scrimmage situation.

It also gave Eagles’ quarterback Hunter Armstrong additional reps with a new set of wide receivers. Fort Dale will have to replace Luke Hutcheson, Dustin Till and Sean McKeague at wide out this fall. Receiver and running back threat Todd Burkett has also graduated.

The cupboard’s not all bare, though: Eli Blackmon and Andrew Callen return. Stuart Matthews will also play wide receiver after sitting out the 2009 season.

As for Armstrong Sampley said his senior play caller has had a strong off-season. Armstrong, who is 6-foot-3 and weighs 195 pounds, attended both the quarterback camp and one organized by Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive coordinator Bruce Arians at Hoover High School last weekend.

“He’s had a good summer,” said Sampley. “The 7-on-7 (camp) was good for Hunter because it allowed him the chance to work on checking down to another receiver if his first guy is not open. But Hunter’s greatest strength is he’s looking downfield when a rush is on and in a game situation.”

Sampley said he’s been especially pleased with how both the junior varsity and varsity players have responded to off-season workouts and conditioning.

One other player to watch in the fall is lineman Chance Williams, he said.

“I don’t know if there’s been another player that’s had as good a off-season as Chance has,” said Sampley. “He’s put on size and is going to help us a lot.”