Solid No. 3

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 6, 2004

The Fort Dale Eagles knew coming in that they were going to the playoffs.

The only question was where they would travel to in the first round.

Friday night, that question was answered with a 35-9 victory over Mobile Christian.

The win secured the Eagles the No. 3 slot in the region behind champion Faith and runner up Morgan.

The Eagles' road to a championship begins with a trip to Elmore and a match-up with Edgewood Academy.

But, before Fort Dale could look to the playoffs, they had to go head to head with a group of Leopards from Mobile Christian.

Fort Dale scored early and often in the first half, posting a 21-3 lead at the half.

With 5:46 left in the first quarter, Christopher Slagley took the handoff from quarterback David Moore and drove his way into the end zone for the touchdown. The point after split the uprights and gave the Eagles a lead that would not be relinquished.

Mobile Christian stepped up and held Fort Dale to a three and out.

On fourth and long from inside the Eagle 25, Fort Dale was set to punt. A botched snap sent the ball flying over the head of punter Tim James. James picked up the ball and shook two potential tacklers en route to picking up the first down and keeping the Eagles' drive chugging along. With a new set of down, Moore stepped under center and rolled out to pass. The result however was not how he intended. Moore's pass was picked off but was stopped for a minimal return.

The Leopards took over on offense, but didn't move the ball far, one yard to be exact.

Mobile Christian had to settle for a field goal. It split the uprights and put them four points away from the lead, 7-3.

The rest of the game was all Fort Dale. With 6:40 left in the game, Fort Dale added to their lead thanks to a 59-yard sprint from James.

With the point after, the Eagles lead expanded to 14-3.

On the Leopards next possession, their offense once again proved to be anemic as they drove the ball nine yards. Both teams lined up on fourth and less than a yard. But, with a loud stadium, the right guard for Mobile Christian jumped offside, moving the Leopards back to fourth down and six and forcing the punt.

Fort Dale lined up and came after the punt and got it. David Paulk was the Eagle out of the pack to block the punt. Lister Crosby picked the ball up on a bounce and carried it to the house. Fort Dale's lead swelled to 21-3 at the half.

In the second half, the story was pretty much the same.

Fort Dale came out with a 21-3 lead and expanded it.

With less than a minute remaining in the third quarter, James popped a 31-yard run for a touchdown. With the point after, Fort Dale's lead grew to 28-3.

Fort Dale tacked on one final score in the fourth quarter thanks to a 23-yard run from James.

With the point after, the score expanded to 35-3.

With under 2:00 minutes left in the game and most of the Fort Dale starters resting on the sideline, Mobile Christian scored their only touchdown of the night. The Leopards crossed the goal line from six yards out.

They did not have the same result on their two point conversion attempt.

By the time the final gun sounded, Fort Dale had securely laid claim to the No. 3 spot in the region.

The question of

what place had been answered. Now, it all came down to the question of who do we play?

Edgewood Academy answered that question for Fort Dale when they knocked off Pike Liberal.

The Eagles will travel to Elmore next week and will play No. 2 Edgewood.James carried the football 20 times for a total of 364 yards rushing for Fort Dale.

As a team, the Eagles pounded away at the heart of the Leopard defense for a total of 364 rushing yards.

Moore was 1-for-7 with 22 yards and one interception.

Defensively for the Eagles, Brady Newton led the team with 10 tackles and one fumble recovery. Dalton Gregory followed with nine tackles.

Kickoff for Friday's game against Edgewood is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be played in Elmore.