FDA faces challenge in disciplined Lee-Scott team

Published 6:14 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A stiff challenge awaits the Fort Dale Eagles at home Friday as the team prepares to host the Lee-Scott Academy Warriors.

The Warriors enter Friday at 4-1, with their sole loss on the season coming at the hands of Monroe Academy—the same is true of the other five teams the undefeated Volunteers have faced.

FDA head football coach James “Speed” Sampley expects a fight out of a disciplined Warriors team that refuses to beat themselves.

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“They’re always going to be really well coached,” Sampley said. “Robert Maddox is the head coach there, and he used to be the head coach at Troy University. They’re going to be very solid at what they do.  William Johnson is one of their assistants, and William used to work here for us.

“They won’t beat themselves, and we’re going to have to play a lot better football than what we’ve been playing if we want to be in this ballgame.”

The Eagles squeaked by the Warriors on the road last year in a narrow 12-7 win.

“Usually, when we play it’s a close game,” Sampley added. “They play very solid defense and you don’t get anything for free, so I would expect a close game if we do our part.”

Lee-Scott is just the start as the Eagles prep for a difficult three-game stretch.

“We have Lee-Scott, Morgan and Monroe in a row,” Sampley said. “We’ve got a stretch here that are going to be a little tighter than the ones we’ve been playing.”

Sampley added that the start against Lee-Scott will be important in establishing momentum for the second half of the season.

“I’ve been talking to [my players] all year long, and the key to this thing, I think, year-in and year-out is that you get better as the year goes on,” he said. “You can have the best team in the state on day one, but if everyone else got better and you didn’t, you won’t usually finish No. 1.

“And so we’re trying to work on us daily and get better, and what we want to do is be a much better team when November starts than we were when August started. If that happens, then we have a chance.”

Sampley also said that eliminating mistakes would be doubly important against a team that won’t make many themselves.

“As always, we’ve got to take care of the ball,” he said. “We can’t turn the thing over.  And we’ve got to minimalize penalties, and we’ve got to tackle well.  These are the keys to winning every week.  You’ve just got to do what you’re supposed to do, and most of the time that’s all you can do.  Then you hope that you can outplay the other team or get the better break than they do at the right moment, and that’s what we’ve got to try to do.”

The Eagles will host the Warriors Friday.  Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.