Eagles squeak by Senators

Published 9:58 am Saturday, August 20, 2011

Though the results of Fort Dale Academy’s 21-19 win over Morgan will not count in either teams win or loss column, it was clear Friday night the team’s wanted to send each other a message.

Both squads came out with the intensity of a regular season game and it showed, as the game went down to the wire.

The Eagles appeared to put the game away with 1:05 remaining in the game when Chase Whiddon found the endzone on an 8-yard run to cap a nine-play, 60-yard drive.

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However, Morgan answered right back on the first play of their following possession when Dalton Lee hit Matt McKinney on a 65-yard swing pass to bring the Senators to within a 21-19 score.

The two-point conversion failed, securing the win for the Eagles.

Morgan head coach Brian King said he was impressed with his team’s intensity from start to finish.

“I’m really proud of the effort we got,” he said. “In a four quarter game, I’d really like our chances. All around it was good football and I’m pleased with the effort.”

Coming into the game, King said he knew his players had a little extra motivation. Afterward, he said the game should serve as an example of what this squad can accomplish.

“I thought they reacted well to all their situations. I’m really proud,” he said. “This is the team that knocked them out last year and we really wanted to upset them. WE told them after the game Fort Dale won the state championship last year and the only game the last game they lost was in a scrimmage with us. Maybe we can mirror what they did.”

Both teams came out on fire, scoring on their first drives of the game.

The Eagles took possession to open and rolled off a 10-play, 65-yard drive with Dale Gardener finding the endzone with 7:13 to go in the opening quarter. The extra point was good, giving Fort Dale a 7-0 lead.

The lead did not last long.

After Parker Hughes broke free to the Eagle 24-yard line, he again carried the load for a short touchdown run to make the score 7-6 with 3:29 to go in the opening quarter. The extra point was good, tying the game at 7.

The Senators again found themselves in scoring possession when McKinney picked off a Fort Dale pass and returned it to the 1-yard-line. On the next play, McCain Levins took the ball in to give Morgan a 13-7 lead with 3:14 to go in the half.

Unfortunately, the extra point bounced off the upright, opening the door for Fort Dale to regain the lead.

The Eagles did just that, as Chip Taylor connected with Cody Tesmer for a touchdown pass to tie the game at 13 with 9:54 to go in the half.

The extra point was good, giving Fort Dale the lead for good 14-13.

Throughout the third quarter, and most of the fourth, both offenses sputtered. On the first play of the second half, Hughes broke free for a 65-yard touchdown. However, the play was called back because of the block in the back and a fumble ended the threat.

Both offenses sputtered until the last-minute fireworks.

King said the Senators have plenty to improve on, but added the scrimmage will give him a better idea of where to start.

“We’ve got to get a little more fine-tuned,” he said. “That’s why we play these games. It gives us a better look at what we need to work on.”