Fort Dale focuses on ball security at practice

Published 2:25 pm Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Friday night’s game with Lee-Scott Academy will surely make its way to the top of a list of nights that Fort Dale Academy head football coach James “Speed” Sampley hopes to forget.

The error-filled evening, in which the Eagles fumbled the ball on seven separate occasions (ultimately losing four of them for turnovers) resulted in a 14-6 loss, but it’s already water under the bridge for Sampley.

“If you start dwelling on stuff, you aren’t going to be any good anyway,” Sampley said.

“Anything in the past is gone, and you just go on about your business.”

That doesn’t mean that Sampley is ignoring the reason for the mishaps, however.

Business as usual for the Eagles now includes a number of drills concerning ball security.

“We’re working on that… we’re working on that very hard,” Sampley said.

“We’re working on hand drills and everything else that we can do.”

Sampley has always prioritized taking care of things at home over worrying about the opposition is going to do, and that approach pays dividends this week specifically because Fort Dale has never played Friday’s opponent, Evangel Christian, before.

“I think they’ve got some pretty good athletes,” Sampley added.

“I don’t know a whole lot about them; I know they run the spread, and I know they run a 3-4 defense.

“They’re a 2A team and it’s not a region game, but it’s a big game because it’s the first game of the season.”

The Eagles enter the first game of the season relatively fresh despite a pair of distressing injuries sustained Friday night to 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.

But Sampley said that both would be present to help lay a solid foundation for what he hopes will be a sturdy 2014 campaign.

“It’s important to start out playing well so we can build on it,” Sampley said.

“It’s like every week is a building block.  This is that the first building block.”

The Eagles will host the Evangel Christian Academy Lions Friday night, and kickoff is set for 7 p.m.