Fort Dale outlasts Escambia
It came down to the wire, or more like the 5-yard line, for Fort Dale Academy Friday night as it held off Escambia Academy 21-14 for a season-opening win.
In the fourth quarter, Escambia completed a pass to the 5-yard line in an attempt to tie the game and force overtime, but the Fort Dale defense held and sealed the victory.
The Eagles came out strong in the first half scoring first on a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chip Taylor to wide receiver Taylor Windham. Patrick Russell added the extra point to put FDA up 7-0.
The running game picked up for the Eagles when Chip Taylor scored on a 1-yard run early in the second Quarter. Ryan Taylor also scored from 1 yard out to give the Eagles a 21-6 lead heading into halftime.
Russell finished the game 3-for-3 on point after attempts.
However, Fort Dale’s lead nearly vanished as Escambia mounted a comeback thanks to a 40-yard touchdown pass and a successful two-point conversion late in the final quarter that cut the Eagles lead to a single score at 21-14.
“We were running it well, but I was trying to throw (the ball) too much,” Fort Dale head coach James “Speed” Sampley said. “We believe we can throw, but we throw it when we don’t need too. We had 10 penalties that hurt us, and two turnovers that didn’t help anything either.”
Sampley credited linebackers Chase Whiddon and Ryan Taylor for their play late in the game.
“We pretty much moved the ball well, but we didn’t score very much and that hurt,” Sampley said. “(Escambia) got back in the game, and we almost messed everything up. We have to do a better job of finishing things off when we get ahead like that.”
Chip Taylor completed 9-of-12 pass attempts for 231 yards. Fort Dale rushed for 155 yards. The Eagles held Escambia to 261 total yards.
James Burkett hauled in two passes for 103 yards and Whiddon recorded nine tackles to lead the Fort Dale defense.
Trent Brooks had a fumble recovery and Ryan Salter and Blake Harris both had interceptions.
Fort Dale (1-0) will play host to Coosa Valley Friday at 7 p.m.