BY SCOTTIE BROWN
The Greenville Standard
While expected to win in the first outing of the season, the Fort Dale Academy (FDA) Eagles blew past the Lee-Scott Academy Warriors winning the matchup 40-18.
FDA head coach James ‘Speed’ Sampley said while he was pleased with the team’s win, and he hopes to continue to see the team improve from game-to-game this season.
“We played well,” Sampley said. “We had close to 400 yards offensively, which is pretty good. Defensively we made some really good plays down in short-yardage to keep them out of the end zone. Down in the red zone, I thought those were big plays for us. They scored right before half.
“They were trying to kick a field goal and missed the snap. The quarterback chased it down, and turned around, threw it in the air and they caught it in the end zone. It was a letdown right before halftime, but I thought our guys responded well to it at the start of the second half.”
Sampley said he had used the halftime to talk the team through the unexpected scoring from the Warriors before the half, focusing on momentum and encouraging the team to bounce back.
“Momentum is a big, big part of football, and that worried me a good bit at halftime, and we had a long talk about how it was just part of life,” Sampley said. “We had to kick off to them to start the second half, and fortunately enough, we caused a fumble on the first play and got the ball back. We scored on the first offensive play after that and got the momentum back and never let it go again.”
Sampley said Cade Mannsmann, running back; Barren Brack, quarterback; Caden Coker, running back and Bryce Ackerman, wide receiver, were key players for the team Friday.
Mannsmann finished the outing with a total of 15 carries for 157 with two touchdowns. Brack carried 12 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns and passed for 101 yards and two scores over the win. Ackerman caught a 33-yard touchdown pass as well as scored on a 36-yard reverse over Coker made a total of 13 tackles for the night.
“I thought our whole offensive line played well, which is key to the run game,” Sampley said. “Defensively, we had a lot of guys who played well, but we still missed a lot of tackles. We need to get better at that. We’re better off doing what we have done forever offensively, so we have scrapped the other for now.”
Looking into the team’s upcoming road game against Wilcox Academy, Sampley said he was looking to ensure the team was tackling more efficiently in its next showing.
“We’re going to try and keep it going, and keep our work ethic going,” Sampley said. “The key to this thing – I don’t care if you’re high school, college or a pro team, the team’s that do well are the teams who get better as the season goes on, and that’s what we’re preaching to them each week to try and get better.
“We are going to attempt to tackle better, I promise you that. We really need to tackle better. We had people after folks and they hustled, and we had people hit people, but we need to tackle better.”