Fort Dale loses to Senators
Published 12:00 am Monday, October 25, 2004
The Eagles are getting ready to pack their bags.
Friday’s 14-7 loss to Morgan means that Fort Dale will spend the first round of the AISA playoffs on the road.
The bright spot to the situation is that they are in the playoffs.
Fort Dale entered Friday’s match-up with a shot at home-field advantage during the first round of the playoffs. Their only opposition was the defending AAA state champions.
The MA Senators came out looking like the Oklahoma Sooners of old. Wearing the maroon tops and white bottoms. They also played football like the Sooners – option football.
The Morgan option attack, combined with a pair of desperation passes carried them down the field for the first score of the game.
Josh McAteer broke through the Eagle defense en route to a short touchdown run. The point after split the uprights and gave the Senators a lead that they wouldn’t give up.
Trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, the Eagles tried to get an offensive drive established. But it stalled and the Senators took over and strung together a drive of their own. The drive ended on a McAteer run from four yards out. The point after was again good and the Eagles trailed 14-0.
Late in the second quarter, the Eagles began to show signs of life. Peter McGowin took a handoff from Moore up the middle and caught the Senator defense off guard. The sophomore fullback scampered through the secondary for a first down and then some before finally being brought down.
The Eagles tacked on a pass, followed by runs from Tim James and Taylor Hawsey.
Fort Dale punted on fourth and 16 into the end zone. They were given a second chance when an eager Senator got called for defensive holding.
James Sampley elected to go for it on fourth and six. The play was stopped short resulting in a turnover on downs. With 54 seconds left in the first half, Senator quarterback Jeremy Smith kneeled the ball twice as the clock ran down to end the half.
&uot;In the first half it was all Morgan, in the second half I guess it was all us,&uot; Sampley said.
&uot;I don’t think they did much offensively in the second half. We moved the ball consistently in the second half. We just couldn’t score. &uot;
The second half kicked off and the two teams had a role reversal.
Fort Dale came out as the aggressor moving the ball up and down the field. Morgan came out winded as the Eagles had the Senators reeling.
But, sketchy officiating halted two Fort Dale drives.
Late in the third quarter, the Senators recorded a blocked punt and recovered at the 26, but were unable to do anything with it.
&uot;We blocked the punt
and got it at the 26, but
couldn’t punch it in,&uot; said Robert Gartman, coach of the Senators. &uot;I botched a couple of play calls. It should have been 21-0 at that point, but that’s history. Then we ran the option on third and long yardage but we turned it over and gave them a chance to get back into the game.&uot;
The Eagle defense stopped the Senators twice in the third quarter.
&uot;We felt like they were probably going to score,&uot; Gartman said. &uot;Because they were in four-down territory. We wanted to make sure if they scored they ran time off the clock and that they didn’t get all at once.&uot;
The Eagles strung together a drive that culminated in a touchdown.
James broke through the defense and into the end zone for the lone Fort Dale score. The point after was good and the Eagles were down seven, 14-7.
The Eagles lined up for an on-side kick.
The kick one-hopped its way into the arms of a Morgan Senator.
With time remaining on the clock, the Eagles had a chance to get the ball back.
But, a seven yard run on third down and then a three yard run on fourth gave the Senators a first down.
&uot;We managed to score one time,&uot; Sampley said. &uot;We’ve just got to
be able to put a whole game together when we play a good team. They are a good team, well coached. What we have to do is come back next week and get ready for the playoffs.&uot;
Next week is a region game and after that, it’s for seeding.
With under a minute left on the game clock, the Senators chose to kneel the ball and allow time to expire.
Statistically, the Eagles had 183 yards of total offense, a severe drop-off from last week’s 400 plus yards.
They managed 154 yards on the ground and 29 in the air. James carried the ball 20 times for 71 yards. Hawsey had 15 carries for 55 yards.
Moore was 2-of-6 passing.
The two receptions were made by John Allen Bates and Mason Bass for 18 and 11 yards, respectively.
Brady Newton was the leading tackler for the Eagles, recording 15 tackles.
Next week, the Eagles will finish out their area schedule with a road trip to Mobile Christian. The Leopards were also on the short end of the score Friday night.
They fell to Faith 48-14, setting up a AAA state championship rematch between Faith and Morgan for the Area Championship.