FDA, Pike rivalry continues with region win on line

Published 6:30 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Fort Dale Academy Eagles have limited opponents to just under 10 points per game thus far in regular season play, though they’ll face the toughest offense yet in the Patriots of Pike Liberal Arts.

The Patriots put on a show in their home opener Friday, routing Abbeville Christian Academy to the tune of a 48-12 win and extending their record to 2-0 in the process.

Wide receiver/running back J.T. Ball will likely prove the biggest target for the Eagles’ defense, as he led the Patriots with three touchdowns.

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Not to be upstaged, the Patriots’ defense also forced four fumbles Friday night.

As perennial rivals, the Eagles and Patriots’ battle Friday will also mark the first region game for both teams, as well as the first potential loss of the season for either team.

The Eagles’ own season mirrors the success of Pike Liberal Arts’ start, with two considerable victories over non-region opponents Evangel Christian Academy and Wilcox Academy.

The Eagles hold an all-time 13-5 record over the Patriots of Pike Lib, including a narrow championship-round defeat in 2008. Though history means very little for Fort Dale Academy head football coach James “Speed” Sampley.

Sampley said that his team is in a solid position three weeks into the year, there is still ample room for improvement.

“We’re going to have to play consistently, cut down on the mistakes we’re making and tackle better,” Sampley said.

“But overall, we’re making progress.”

The Eagles will host the visiting Patriots for their first home game of the season Friday night beginning at 7 p.m.