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FDA braces for tough battle with Monroe

The Fort Dale Academy Eagles have had a tumultuous season filled with ups and downs, but Friday night’s challenge might prove the toughest yet.

The Eagles face the 6-1 Monroe Academy Volunteers, and Fort Dale head coach James “Speed” Sampley said that it’s no stretch to consider Friday’s game the high-water mark on the difficulty scale.

“Monroe is Fort Dale’s no. 1 rival, so it doesn’t matter if we play them in Tiddlywinks.  We would like to beat them and I’m sure they would like to beat us,” Sampley said.

“Their offensive linemen are exceptional.  Of course, their defensive linemen are, too.  But they’re really good up front and they’re well coached.  It’ll be a tough test.”

Fortunately for the Eagles, passing tough tests has become something of a trend as of late as the team looks to extend its winning streak to three against a physical Volunteers team.

Sampley said that they certainly aren’t the team they were on the first week of the season, but they still have a long way to go.

“I think we’re getting better—I think we’re learning how to use our personnel in the way that’s best suited for us,” Sampley added.

“What you want to do is be better at the end than you were to start with.”

Even factoring in last week’s 16-8 loss to an undefeated Escambia Academy, Monroe Academy has, on average, outscored opponents 30-9 across the first seven weeks of the season.

Sampley said that keeping control of the football is a huge priority, but it’s not the only one.

“I tell them every week that we’ve got to tackle better, to start with,” Sampley said.

“We’ve got a lot of things that we’ve got to do to slow them down and, of course, the best way to slow down an offense is if you can keep the ball when you’re on offense, and that’s part of it, too.  We’ve got to be able to move the football so that they only have the ball for a limited amount of plays.”

The Eagles look for their second region win on the road at Monroe Academy beginning Friday at 7 p.m.