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Last minute drive wins it for Eagles

Pinned at their own six-yard line late in the fourth quarter, the Fort Dale Eagles went 11 plays and scored on a 20-yard run by Hunter Armstrong to beat Pike Liberal Arts School 27-26 on Friday night in Troy.

The Eagles secured a first round playoff game with the victory over the Patriots. FDA improved to 6-1 (5-1). PLAS fell to 5-2 (2-2).

Fort Dale took advantage of a PLAS turnover on the opening kickoff as Perry Singleton scored on a 19-yard run which gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead. After a FDA three-and-out, PLAS would find the end zone thanks to 25-yard run by Nick McLaughlin.

Armstrong responded for Fort Dale, running 25 yards for a touchdown and putting Fort Dale back up 14-6.

The Eagles defense then rose up for goal line stand just before halftime. Three passes by Blake Floyd moved the ball to inside the FDA 10-yard line. The defense stuffed the runner inches away from pay-dirt as time expired.

There was no stopping Pike early in the third quarter, though. Taylor Stevens returned a punt 40 yards for the touchdown and McLaughlin tied the game up with the two-point conversion.

Armstrong came through again for Fort Dale, turning a fourth down and three yards to go into a 44-yard touchdown run.

FDA stopped the Patriots on downs again inside the redzone. Undaunted, PLAS scored 12 straight points to claim the lead. Floyd connected with Sam Carroll for a 25-yard touchdown pass and then McLaughlin stepped in front of an Armstrong pass and returned it 36 yards for the touchdown.

Pike led 26-21 with eight minutes left in the game. Fort Dale had to punt, got the ball back at its six and then marched nearly the length of the field to secure the victory.

Armstrong carried the ball 18 times for 137 yards with three touchdowns. Singleton had nine carries for 66 yards.

Armstrong was 9-of-16 for 101 yards passing. His top receiver was Stephen Till, who totaled 79 yards on five catches. Till also led all Eagles’ tacklers with 12.  – Troy Messenger