‘Dinged up’ FDA preps for Rebels

Published 8:11 am Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fort Dale Academy head coach James “Speed” Sampley and his sixth-ranked Eagles rallied last Friday for an 11th-hour victory against a persistent Escambia Academy team, but there were a handful of developments that could reverberate throughout the upcoming season.

“We played really hard, and we had to come back at the end after we were behind, and that was a big deal,” Sampley said. “We’ve got a few people dinged up, and we’ve got to get past that, too. We had some good and bad come out of it.”

Tight end and kicker Trent Brooks suffered a strained MCL, and his return for this week’s contest against Coosa Valley is doubtful.

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Wide receiver James Burkett experienced a concussion in Friday’s close win, and he will definitely miss Friday’s game.

Despite an ankle sprain, tight end and linebacker Deaton Owens practiced earlier this week is slated to play and quarterback Chip Taylor is ready to play after having a dislocated finger put back into place during the win over the Cougars.

Despite several injuries, Sampley’s approach to the Coosa Valley matchup remains largely unchanged.

“They’re playing a 3-5 defense, which is the same defense we play, so it’s not like we’ve never seen it,” Sampley said. “That probably is beneficial for us, but it probably is beneficial for them too because it’s what they block every day.”

A large offensive line and a quarterback that seems to be a noticeable improvement over last year’s signal caller rounds out Sampley’s concerns for Coosa Valley, despite winning big over the Rebels last year.

Instead of focusing so much on the opposition, though, Sampley said that there are several notable adjustments to be made on his own side of the field first and foremost.

“There’s a lot of things that we need to focus on, but the thing that has got to get a lot better than last week is special teams,” Sampley said “Trent went out early, and then apparently we decided that we would not cover kicks at all.  If you’re going to score points, which it appears we’re able to do, you’re going to have to kick off.  It’s not from a lack of working on it or having the players we need — it’s just that we’re not concentrating on it, so we’ve got to work on it more.”

Fort Dale and Coosa Valley will face off at 7 p.m. at Rebels Stadium in Harpersville.