Butler teams prevail, players explain team’s strengths

Published 8:57 am Monday, September 18, 2023

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The Fort Dale Eagles, McKenzie Tigers and Georgiana Panthers all triumphed with impressive victories this week. Each team’s coach and a senior player explained how the teams were able to accomplish the wins and described how they are stepping into leadership and where the team’s strengths lie. 

Fort Dale Academy

Fort Dale Academy traveled to face Morgan Academy Friday, ending the game 41-16. Head coach Eric Folmar said it has been a long while since the Eagles won against the Senators. 

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“Friday’s win was a big hurdle for us as it’s been a long time since we’ve beaten that bunch,” Folmar said. “I thought our guys really rallied around each other. We were missing a big piece with Ethan Alford out so it was great to see some other guys step up and play a big role for us. Hopefully we can get some guys healed up over the bye week and get back to 100 percent before we head to Monroe next week.”

Joseph Ealum, No. 24 senior player, said the Eagle’s team is full of leaders with a lot of heart. 

“Honestly on this team we have our senior leaders but everyone on this team is a leader,” Ealum said. “You can turn to any brother on that field and look for words of encouragement, motivation, and heart. This team holds such a special place in not just my heart, but the coaches, players, and everyone involved.”

Ealum explained the team’s power lies in its strength, heart, and the sense of being a family.  

“Our team works so hard everyday we get the chance too,” Ealum said. “Whether we are in the weight room or putting in extra running after practice. Overall, we just all have a special love for each other and want to continue holding the standard of what Fort Dale football should be.”

The Eagle’s next game will be at Monroe Academy’s field on Sept. 29. 

McKenzie High School

The Mckenzie Tigers prevailed against the Pleasant Home Eagles 54-7. Head coach Brian Bradford said the team is getting better every week. 

“It was a good team win,” Bradford said. “Our players were really focused this week and we had a good week of preparation. They were determined to get back on the winning side again. I’m excited about our progress. We are getting better every week.”

Jayden Mcmillian, No. 8 senior player, said he considers it an honor and privilege to serve as a leader on the McKenzie team, adding that growing up with the majority of his teammates created a strong brotherhood. 

“I am always being told, ‘It’s about us now, so it can be about them later!’” Mcmillian said. “I realized what this truly meant after our most recent win. Even though I scored a few touchdowns last Friday night, I reached my highest peak of excitement when two of our junior varsity athletes scored themselves. As a senior, my season will soon end, but McKenzie Football will still be there for many more years to come. I will continue to lead my football team to make sure the McKenzie Tigers are even more fierce in the following years!”

The Tigers will play at home against Red Level on Sept. 22. 

Georgiana High School

The Panthers shutout the Kinston Bulldogs 40-0, the second shutout in a row for the team. Head coach Berry Bess said focusing on their weaknesses each week is helping the team prevail. 

“As a whole I feel like our focus each week is being carried over into the next game and that’s a priority for us,” Bess said. “We want to find something we are struggling on each week and fix it for the next week. I can’t say enough about our defense, to pitch a shutout in today’s game is hard enough, but to do it back to back weeks is impressive.”

Demetrius Watson, No. 5 senior player, said it is important as a leader to be humble and stay positive.

“There’s a lot of players on the team who look up to me, so I have to set an example for those guys,” Watson said. “We have many strengths including our defense, offense and being able to step up and make plays on both sides of the ball while remaining humble, staying positive, encouraging the team, being supportive even from the sideline and being able to take criticism, good or bad. Like in the game on Thursday night we were missing our starting quarterback, but our backup quarterback stepped up and was able to lead us to victory.”

Georgiana will travel to face Houston County High on Sept. 22.