Eagles prepare for Morgan#039;s rushing attack

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Fort Dale Academy coach James &#8220Speed” Sampley's gameplan for his Eagles' semifinal matchup was a drastic change from last week's preparation for Edgewood Academy.

Last week, Fort Dale (7-4) rushed just two linemen on defense and dropped nine players to defend Edgewood's aerial assault. This week, the Eagles change gears to prepare for a Morgan Academy (10-1) team may only throw the ball five times in a game.

&#8220They are just another animal all together,” Sampley said of Morgan Academy. &#8220We know we have to defend the run and do it well to have a chance.”

And a chance is something no one gave Fort Dale against Edgewood last week.

&#8220Everyone counted us out,” Sampley said. &#8220Even during the coaches' meeting last week in Montgomery, they were talking about an Edgewood-Morgan matchup.”

Morgan Academy coach Robert Gartman was one of those coaches counting Fort Dale out. In fact there has been nothing but a state championship berth on his and his Senators' mind.

&#8220It doesn’t matter to me who we play,&uot; Gartman told the Selma Times-Journal. &#8220The object is to win the state championship. We start the season with the expectation to win the state championship with nothing else being a success.”

In fact it doesn't seem to be anyone focusing on Morgan this week, including Fort Dale. Sampley said the Eagles' focus needs to be on Fort Dale.

&#8220We've got to work on not beating ourselves,” Sampley said.

And that's what happened just a few weeks ago when the Senators knocked off Fort Dale in Greenville 28-14 during a regular-season matchup. Morgan capitalized on three Eagle turnovers with three touchdowns.

Morgan Academy held Fort Dale to just 144 yards of total offense, while the Senators rolled up more than 300.

The Eagles were also without the services of senior running back Tim James, who was suffering from a hip pointer.

&#8220It really didn't matter that we didn't have him, because we didn't block or tackle well at all that night,” Sampley said.

James is expected to play this week after he rushed for 246 yards on 32 carries against Edgewood.

Morgan Academy finished with almost 500 yards of total offense last week in its 41-12 first-round victory over Pike Liberal Arts.

Senior running back Josh McAteer rushed for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

&#8220He's a good player, and you can't stop him,” Sampley said. &#8220It just a matter of trying to limit how far he runs so he won't hurt you too bad.”