FDA focusing on basics

Published 5:04 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2013

For No. 5 Fort Dale Academy, last year’s matchup with Autauga Academy was a shootout of epic proportions, culminating in a narrow 49-47 loss to the non-region rival.

But head coach James “Speed” Sampley said that this year, spectators should not expect an encore performance.

But that doesn’t mean he’s underestimating them.

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“Autauga has got a really good football team,” Sampley said. “On offense, they’re pretty balanced. They throw the ball well and they’ve got a good running back. Defensively, they get after you and they’re very, very physical.”

One year later and not much as changed, as the undefeated Generals have maintained much of the offensive power that made them such a threatening force last year.

Even so, the Eagles have made their own strides in offensive production, averaging 32 points per game.

But Sampley still sees room for improvement.

“We’ve got some things that we still need to clean up and make better,” Sampley said.

“We’ve turned the ball over a few times, and that’s got to go away. We’ve got a few penalties that we shouldn’t. And we’re still missing tackles defensively, but we’re getting a lot of people around the ball and, if you get enough people around the ball, it’ll usually take care of itself.”

Sampley added that the Eagles are making weekly improvements to special teams as well, with a handful of players returning from injuries to help carry the load.

But the key to taking care of Autauga lies in executing the simple things.

“It all comes down to tackling them,” Sampley added. “That tailback that they’ve got has got a lot of yardage after contact, and we’ve got to get him on the ground the moment we get our hands on him.”

The Eagles will travel to Autauga Friday night. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.