Round 1: Fort Dale vs. Macon-East

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 2, 2006

Last season's Fort Dale Academy Eagles marched into the playoffs with consecutive losses to Morgan and Patrician before defeating Edgewood in the first round, thanks to three Mika Jones interceptions.

The Eagles were defeated for the second time against Morgan in the second round, thus eliminating Fort Dale from the playoffs.

That was then, this is now.

This year's Eagles are heading into the playoffs with a seven-game win streak and have already gotten over the Morgan hurdle.

After defeating Lowndes Academy Thursday night, 32-0, the Eagles quickly turned their attention to this week's opponent, the Macon-East Academy Knights, and begun preparing both physically and mentally for the playoff run.

Fort Dale head coach James &#8220Speed” Sampley said the Knights have an explosive offense and their quarterback runs more than most opponents the Eagles have faced.

In fact, Sampley said the Knights run more offensive plays than most opponents the Eagles have faced.

&#8220If there is a formation that they have not run, I haven't seen it,” Sampley said jokingly.

On the defensive side of the ball, Sampley said defensive coordinator Bill Granger has done a great job and the Eagle offense will be challenged.

&#8220We will have to sustain our blocks,” Sampley said.

The Eagles escaped Thursday night's game against Lowndes Academy in good shape health wise, but Sampley said running back Blake Mullins has been battling a virus this week and was held out of practice Monday.

Fort Dale will need Mullins Friday night, as the senior has been a vital part of the Eagle offense.

During Thursday night's win over the Rebels, Mullins finished with 56 yards on five carries and two touchdowns with also making a team-tying 11 tackles for the Eagle defense.

Mullins' counterpart in the Eagle backfield, Mika Jones, finished Thursday night's game with 127 yards on 20 carries and scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion.

A win Friday night could pit the Eagles up against No. 1 ranked Bessemer Academy in the second round, but Sampley said his team must take it one game at a time.

&#8220First off, we have to play Macon-East,” Sampley said.

Kickoff for Friday's game at Fort Dale is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.