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Eagles outmaneuver Evangel in season opener

The Fort Dale Academy starters enjoyed a restful second half after a busy first half as the Eagles out-clawed the Lions of Evangel Christian in a 48-30 home win.

Zach Winters began the 2017 season in as good a fashion as possible for the Eagles with an 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, setting the tone for the night in the process.

Quarterback Luke Taylor found Winters again for a 32-yard touchdown pass to extend the Eagles lead to 13-0.

Evangel eventually answered with a 25-yard rushing touchdown, though FDA running back Zach Kendrick answered the rush with one of his own for an 8-yard score.

Taylor scored on a quarterback keeper at the top of the second quarter to give the Eagles a comfortable 27-12 cushion.

The Eagles offense received some unlikely help in the form of an interception from defensive lineman Braxton Daniels, who surged to the 9-yard line and set up the Eagles for an extremely short field and another keeper from Taylor.

The Eagles netted a second interception later in the quarter, this time from Tripp Richardson, who set himself up for a rushing touchdown at the close of the half and a 41-12 Fort Dale lead.

FDA head football coach James “Speed” Sampley said that the convincing win over Evangel was a strong start to the season.

“It was a good first game,” Sampley said.  “There were some positive things and things we need to work on.  I felt like we moved the ball well on offense.  Our defense was not tackling as well as I think we should have, but overall, it’s a good start.”

Winters led the Eagles receivers with 89 yards, followed by Richardson’s 42.

Winters also rushed for 101 yards on three carries, and Kendrick trailed with 98 yards on 9 carries.

Taylor was 6 for 12 passing for 141 yards, and he picked up an additional 61 yards on the ground on 7 rushes.

Austin Phillips and Trey Coker led the Eagles defense with 11 and 10 tackles respectively.

The Eagles will face Wilcox Academy at home Friday night.  Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.