Eagles playoff bound for seventh straight year

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2006

When James &#8220Speed” Sampley first arrived as the Fort Dale head coach, the Eagles missed the playoffs in his first year at the helm.

That was eight years ago.

Since then, Sampley and his Eagles have reeled off six consecutive playoff appearances and clinched the seventh Friday night with the 41-12 win over the Morgan Academy Senators.

Although Fort Dale has already clinched a playoff berth, Friday night's game against Cottage Hill will pit the Eagles up against their sixth Top 10 opponent of the season with playoff home-field advantage implications on the line.

&#8220(Our team) knows how important this game is,” Sampley said. &#8220Cottage Hill has possibly the best team we have faced.”

Sampley said the Warriors, who defeated Clarke Prep Friday night 14-7, like to spread the ball around the field and do it effectively.

&#8220They throw the ball really well and they probably have the best receiver in the state (in AISA),” Sampley said.

Offensively for the Eagles, Sampley said his team has played well in recent, especially the offensive line, and the use of the spread offense has allowed Fort Dale to open up the running game more.

&#8220Our offensive line has played extremely well the last two weeks,” Sampley said. &#8220It helps that when we run the spread offense, Mika (Jones) is a receiver and Blake (Mullins) is the running back and they are both great, team players with different styles.”

During last week's game, Jones finished with 91 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown while Mullins had an outstanding night with 183 yards on 11 carries and four touchdowns.

Quarterback Ty Newton was 4-of-10 for 103 yards.

&#8220We're more balanced now with the two different looks for defenses,” Sampley said. &#8220It gives folks a lot to digest.”

Kickoff for Friday night's game at Cottage Hill is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.#