Patriots end Eagles’ playoff hopes

Published 12:06 am Saturday, October 25, 2014

It was a terminal game of catch-up that Fort Dale Academy couldn’t reel in as the Eagles fell to the Pike Liberal Arts Patriots 43-22 in the final region game of the year.

The loss knocks the Eagles out of the playoff picture for the 2014 season.

The Patriots had little trouble moving the ball throughout all four quarters of play, leaving the Eagles defense unable to make a stop to shift the tide in Fort Dale’s favor.

“We didn’t ever stop them,” said Fort Dale Academy head coach James “Speed” Sampley.

“They move the ball on us the whole night long, and we were behind the whole time and we couldn’t ever catch up and make a game out of it.”

Following the first quarter, the Eagles offense began to pick up steam, led by an impressive running performance from Sawyer Kendrick.

And though the Eagles were able to mount a far-more balanced attack in the later quarters of the game, it was a case of too-little, too-late to make a meaningful comeback.

“We moved the ball after the first quarter OK, but we didn’t stop them,” Sampley said.  “And then you’re behind, and you have to try to score in a hurry and it just took us out of our game.”

Kendrick’s performance wasn’t atypical of his solid rushing numbers all season long, but the senior took the burden of the responsibilities in the wake of a fellow teammate’s injury.

According to Sampley, it was a feat he accomplished on both sides of the ball.

“He’s had a great year,” Sampley added.

“Ryan Burkett, our other running back, was hurt tonight, and wasn’t able to play.  And so sawyer knew that he was going to have to carry it and try to make all the tackles tonight, and he had a good game.  We just didn’t play defense very well.”

Though the chances of postseason play are over, Sampley said that his team still has a great deal left to play for against next week’s opponent.

“Edgewood’s got the best team in the state,” Sampley said.

“They’ll set the all-time winning record next week when we play if we let them beat us, so we’ll have to come ready to play.”

The Eagles travel to face the undefeated Edgewood Academy Wildcats Friday at 7 p.m.