Defense key in matchup with Morgan

Published 3:44 pm Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It’s often said that more can be learned from a loss than one can ever hope to gain from a win.

For Fort Dale Academy, that lesson is resoundingly clear.

“We have to become better defensively,” said Fort Dale head coach James “Speed” Sampley.

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And though Monroe Academy has averaged a remarkable 50.4 points per game this season, the Eagles gave up a season-high 62 points in last week’s loss.

“I don’t know if we ever stopped them,” Sampley said. “Now they had a really good football team, but we’ve got to tackle better and get people off of blocks better. If we do that, we’ll be fine, but those are the things we’ve got to work on the most.”

And though this week’s opponent, Morgan Academy, has suffered three straight losses, it has still managed to outscore opponents by a margin of 172-106 over five games. For this and many other reasons, the Senators (2-3, 1-1, Class AAA, Region 2) are a team for which the win-loss column means relatively little.

“Morgan’s got a team that in many ways is like us — they’re not very large physically,” Sampley said. “They run with the ball all over the place and they throw it a great deal.  They run a hurry-up offense, they’re well coached, and they do what they do well.

Offensively, Sampley expects the Senators to run with five wide receivers often, requiring a balance of man-to-man and zone defenses.

Putting pressure on their quarterback is key to setting a defensive pace for the entire game, according to Sampley.

“And then, with all of that, we’ve still got to be able to stop the run when they do run it,” Sampley said. “We’re going to have to play great defense if we want to be successful. We match up well if we just do our job.”

The Eagles (4-1, 2-1 Class AAA, Region 2) will face the Senators in Selma Friday at 7 p.m.