Morgan, Fort Dale fighting for right to host first-round playoff game

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 20, 2005

If Fort Dale coach James &#8220Speed” Sampley has that been there, done that attitude concerning Friday's pivotal game with Morgan Academy, it's because he has.

Just like last year, the tenth-ranked Eagles' game with third-ranked Morgan will determine an area champion and which two teams will be hosting a first-round playoff.

And both teams have some part of both equations.

With a win over Fort Dale, Morgan Academy would claim the area title and a chance to host a first-round game.

Should Fort Dale knock off the Senators, then the Eagles would finish second in the area to Faith Academy and they would host a first-round playoff game.

Should either team lose, it would travel to Elmore to face Edgewood in the first round of the playoffs.

&#8220Every year you have those three (Faith, Morgan and Fort Dale) principle characters jockeying for playoff position,” Sampley said. &#8220It never seems to change.”

The playoff picture is now crystal clear for Fort Dale. Should the Eagles (6-2) beat Morgan, it will host Pike Liberal Arts in the first round of the playoffs. Should Fort Dale lose, it will travel to face Edgewood in the first round in two weeks.

Morgan Academy opened the season dropping a 24-12 game against Edgewood and has rolled off seven straight wins since. The Senators pounded Monroe Academy last Friday, 42-9.

Meanwhile, Fort Dale had to rally to hold off Cottage Hill, 20-14.

Running back Tim James cracked the century mark again by rushing for 216 yards on a possible school record 45 carries.

&#8220This game was sandwiched between two really big games for us,” Sampley said. &#8220And

(Cottage Hill) played better than I thought they could play.”

Fort Dale and Morgan have a similar ball-control style offense, but Sampley said the difference Friday night could be the toe of Morgan Academy kicker Jeremy Smith.

&#8220He's got to be the best kicker in the state, so we've got to find a way to win the field-position battle.”

Aside from special teams, Sampley said that Friday's game will be won along the offensive and defensive fronts.

&#8220It's going to come down to who ever out-executes the other,” he said.