No. 8 FDA tops Gators in OT
Fort Dale Academy wide receiver Dow Gardner escaped a Glenwood School defender and found his way across the goal line, but the 5-foot-10, 160-pound senior couldn’t escape the throng of teammates and Fort Dale fans that hemmed him up in the back of the end zone during a wild celebration.
Gardner’s 15-yard touchdown catch in overtime on third-and-15 lifted No. 8 Fort Dale to a 41-38 win over the Gators in the first round of the AISA Class AAA playoffs Friday.
“We called the play and then (Glenwood) called a timeout,” FDA junior quarterback Chip Taylor said. “We got in the huddle and the sideline debated the call, but we decided to go with it because we knew we’d have a slower defender against one of our fastest receivers, and (the defender) bit on the out route. It was a great call and Dow ran a great route.”
The score came after Glenwood booted a 32-yard field goal on its overtime possession to take a 38-35 lead.
“It’s better to win ugly than to lose pretty,” FDA head coach James “Speed” Sampley said. “With that said, we were a little flat tonight, but we didn’t quit. We kept playing and we get to play next week.”
With the win FDA (8-3) advances to face No. 2 Tuscaloosa Academy (11-0).
“That game was nerve-wracking, but it was fun,” Taylor said. “… I’m just proud of how we fought tonight.”
Taylor finished as the Eagles’ leading rusher with 116 yards. He ran for scores of 76 and 26 yards to go along with his 15-yard touchdown pass. He threw for 167 yards.
Junior Chase Whiddon ran for scores of 2 and 4 yards and sophomore Ryan Burkett scampered in from 67 yards out.
FDA finished with 511 yards of total offense with 344 of those yards coming on the ground.
Whiddon led the Eagles with 12 tackles.