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Eagles to face stiff challenge in Bessemer

It’s out of the frying pan and into the fire for Fort Dale Academy as the Eagles prep to fly into the fray against the top-ranked Bessemer Academy Rebels (10-0).

After a showdown with a perennial AISA favorite in the Edgewood Wildcats, Fort Dale Academy head coach James “Speed” Sampley said that this week’s opponent would be marginally less versatile on offense, but no less dangerous.

The potent Rebels offense prefers the ground game to Edgewood’s more balanced approach, averaging 43.2 points per game during the regular season.

And as the perfect record would suggest, the Rebels are difficult to stop once they’ve scored at least 30 points.

In fact, no team since 2000 has beaten them once the team has scored 30 points.

But the Eagles are no strangers to contending with explosive offenses, and Sampley said that the Wildcats proved a great early postseason barometer for the Eagles prior to next week’s meeting with Bessemer.

“They were probably a good get-ready game to play Bessemer because they do a little bit of everything,” Sampley said.

“Bessemer’s got a really good team, and we will have to be well-prepared and not make mistakes to have a chance.”

In a number of ways, the Rebels’ offense mirrors Fort Dale’s own run-first, throw-second approach.

Friday night’s battle will most likely involve a battle not only for field position, but also for time of possession.

Whoever controls the clock—and as Sampley says, “makes the least mistakes”—will have an undeniable advantage.

The Fort Dale Academy Eagles will travel to face the Bessemer Academy Rebels Friday.

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.