Fort Dale fumbles preseason game with Lee-Scott

Published 11:18 pm Friday, August 22, 2014

Victory literally slipped from the clutches of the Fort Dale Academy Eagles Friday night as the Lee-Scott Academy Warriors held on to a 14-6 preseason win.

The Eagles struggled early and often to hold on to the ball, ending the game with more fumbles than points scored (seven total, four of them lost for turnovers).

All players on both teams saw playing time, as starters played the first and third quarters and second-stringers took over for the second and fourth quarter.

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The preseason scrimmage was more of a barometer for measuring progress, but it was very much a contest that Fort Dale head coach James “Speed” wanted to win.

Sampley said that he still doesn’t have an answer for what happened– or rather, what didn’t happen– offensively.

“I don’t know—we haven’t looked that bad in practice on any given day,” Sampley said

“We just couldn’t hold on to the dang thing.  We turned it over a couple of times on nice, long runs and just spit it out.

“If you turn the ball over, you aren’t going to win many ball games.  Both of the times they scored, they did it on a short field.  We just didn’t protect the ball at all.  We did a lot better last week than we did this week.”

But the Warriors weren’t the only team to take advantage of a fumble, as the Eagles capitalized on a botched opening kickoff in the second half to cut the lead to eight on a three-yard run from Ryan Burkett.

But that was the beginning and end of Fort Dale’s offensive production as a final fumble on the Warriors’ 13-yard line ended their last shot at victory late in the fourth quarter.

More distressing are a pair of injuries sophomore wide receiver/linebacker Clay Mansmann, who broke his hand, and senior lineman Tyler Gibson, who suffered a either a hyper-extended or partially dislocated elbow.

Both are starters, so getting them back for next week’s season opener with Evangel is a priority.

But the biggest priority for Sampley is discovering what went wrong Friday night and correcting it at practice.

“We’ve got to take care of the football and not turn it over,” Sampley added.

“And we’ve got to play hard.”

The Eagles will host the Evangel Christian Academy Lions Friday in Fort Dale’s season opener.