Fort Dale looks to tame the Hooper Colts

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 9, 2004

Griffin Pritchard

The Ft. Dale Eagles will look to rise above their 27-7 defeat last week. This week, they will play host to the Hooper Academy Colts from Montgomery.

"Hooper is our first regional opponent and as far as playoffs are concerned, this is a big game for us," said James Sampley, coach of the Eagles.

The Colts come into the game with a new coach and a 1-1 record. John Maddaloni makes the jump from Wetumpka High School to Hooper Academy.

As an Indian, he finished the 2003 campaign with a 6-5 record.

As a Colt, the team's one victory was in a double overtime defeat of single A Lowndes Academy, 13-6. Their lone loss is to the No. 1 team in AAA Edgewood Academy 43-9.

After last week's loss, Sampley sees some areas where the Eagles need to improve before Friday night.

For a team to be a ball control offense, they need to hold onto the football. According to Sampley, that is something that they didn't do a good job of Friday night.

" If you are going to be a ball control offense, you actually have to have the ball to ball-control it. That's something we've got to improve," Sampley said. "Our offense self-destructed a little bit and threw a couple of interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. We fumbled a time down there inside the 10 also. Our offense has got to do a better job."

The punting game was also a problem for the Eagles that has to be improved.

"We did not do a good job punting Friday night," Sampley said. " We worked on that Monday and will again [Tuesday]. We punt that Rugby style. It's the way that Utah State did against Alabama. We've been doing that for two years, this being the third and over the past two years, we have averaged 39 yards a punt one year and 41 yards a punt the next. Those are net averages, no one ever returns punts like that. Friday night we had 21 yards a punt and that is too much of a drop off. You can't punt for 21 yards and expect to beat a team, that's hurting us in the field position battle."

Despite the 27-7 defeat, there were some bright spots for Fort Dale.

"I thought we played pretty fair defense most of the game Friday night," Sampley said.

Friday night's game is set for 7:30 and will be played at Fort Dale Academy.