BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
The Fort Dale Academy Eagles hosted the Sparta Warriors of Evergreen this past Friday evening, Sept. 24, and were handed a 57-35 loss.
From the outset of the first quarter, Sparta took control and scored a touchdown and completed the point after try (PAT) with just 1:58 off the clock.
The Eagles would answer with their own 31-yard touchdown pass thrown by sophomore quarterback Ethan Alford to junior wide receiver Sterling Arnold at the 1:19 mark. Sophomore kicker Alan Alvarez added the PAT making the score 7-7.
Undaunted, the Warriors would quickly respond with another touchdown with just 0:42 left in the first quarter but failed the PAT and the score at the end of first quarter was 13-7.
From there, Sparta began racking up points while keeping the Eagles tethered to the ground by adding 16 points in the second quarter.
The Eagles fared no better in the third quarter as the Warriors added 14 points, which made the score 43-7.
In the fourth quarter, the Eagles finally found their wings and made a valiant effort at a comeback, scoring four touchdowns.
The first was a pass by Alford to Alvarez for 31 yards. The second was also a pass of 51 yards to Alvarez.
The third came on a 10-yard run by senior Noah Pickens, and the fourth touchdown was a pass completion to senior Sam Bloodworth for 52 yards.
All four PATs were completed by Alvarez, but Sparta would add 14 points leaving the final score 57-35.
Offensively, Alford completed 20-35 passes for 333 yards. He would also be the leading rusher gaining 55 yards on eight carries. Pickens would carry the ball 11 times for 30 yards.
Bloodworth was the leading receiver with 11 catches for 181 yards, while Alvarez caught four passes for 97 yards.
Defensively, the effort was shared by a host of Eagles. Bloodworth, senior lineman Andy Seo, and sophomore linebacker Joseph Ealum had three solo tackles apiece. Pickens, junior linebacker Brady Long, sophomore lineman John Lawrence, and freshman Matthew Gregory had two solo tackles each.
The 1-5 Eagles will host the 1-4 Colts of Hooper Academy in a non-area game this Friday for Homecoming at Fort Dale.