Bessemer bounces Eagles from playoffs

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 12, 2006

Top-ranked Bessemer Academy turned a 14-point halftime lead into a 39-0 victory over No. 3 Fort Dale on Friday night, ending the Eagles' season and its hopes of a state championship.

Instead, it will be the Rebels (12-0) - the team to beat in Class AAA this year - moving on to Faith Academy (11-1), 8-7 winners over Glenwood in the other semifinal round. The Class AAA title game - one of three AISA championship games to be played next Friday - will begin at 1 p.m. at Troy University's Movie Gallery Stadium.

Fort Dale's season ends at 10-2.

&#8220We had a good year,” said Eagles' head coach James &#8220Speed” Sampley. &#8220 They've (Bessemer) got a good football team. They were my pick to win it when I saw them on film at the beginning of the year and they're still my pick.”

The Rebels led 14-0 at halftime on the strength of a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and a 62-yard touchdown run by running back Walter Arrington. The blocked punt and resulting touchdown happened early and Sampley's Eagles had held Bessemer's quick-strike offense in check for most of the first half until Arrington broke free for the scoring run with 3:54 left in the second quarter.

Despite giving up the late score, Sampley said his team wasn't down in the locker room.

&#8220The blocked puntŠthat's something that you can't have happen,” he said. &#8220Of course we lost (LB/FB) Barry (Boan) at halftime because of a shoulder injury, hurting our depth, and we looked a little disorganized on defense and they took advantage of it.”

In the second half Eagles' quarterback Ty Newton was picked off by Rebels' safety Zac Napier and it took Bessemer just three plays to score. Quarterback Morgan Ogilvie scampered 18-yards for the touchdown and gave Bessemer a 20-0 lead.

Two more big plays helped bury the Eagles for good in the third quarter.

Ogilvie connected with wide out Jonathan Price on a 58-yard catch and run for a touchdown, then followed that with a 45-yard bomb to Price at the 4:08 mark in the third quarter. That gave the Rebels a 33-0 lead.

Arrington put the icing on Bessemer's victory with a 90-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.

Arrington finished the game with 260 yards on 17 carries and two scores. Both of Price's catches went for touchdowns, totaling 112 receiving yards.

Sampley said it was the Rebels' speed that did the Eagles in.

&#8220I think on a 10-yard field we could beat them,” he said. &#8220On sustained drives we could play with them, but they scored too quick.”

Newton was 11-of-22 for 89 yards for Fort Dale. Davis Watts finished the game with five catches for 51 yards and Mika Jones added 52 yards on the ground for Fort Dale.

Dalton Gregory, Blake Conway and Matt Causey finished with six tackles each for Fort Dale.