Pike’s Patriots fall to Fort Dale Academy 35-18
Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 27, 2000
DeWight Ward new his team faced an uphill battle on Friday night against Fort Dale Academy.
For the most part he was right.
The Eagles came into the game and jumped out to a 28-0 lead in the first half and coasted to a 35-18 victory over Ward’s young football team.
Not that their weren’t any bright moments for PLAS. Junior wingback Bill Hughes looked extremely quick leading the Patriots’ running attack. In the second quarter Hughes accounted for the first Patriots’ touchdown as he "jitterbugged" his way down the sideline for a 27-yard score.
"Bill ran the ball well," said Ward. "He picks and chooses his way through the line real good."
And it wasn’t that the Patriots didn’t have the opportunities in the first half.
Fort Dale took the opening kickoff and charged down the field, mostly relying on the running of quarterback Adam Crenshaw and tailbacks Tommy Ryan and Jared Lowe. But the drive was halted when the Patriots’ defense forced a fumble at their own 15-yard line.
Two plays later
PLAS gave it right back to the Eagles with a fumble.
Ryan took it in from there to give Fort Dale the early 7-0 lead.
The Patriots’ got a good return on the kickoff and started their next series at the 50-yard line. Quarterback Layton Sanders found Druid Conrad over the middle for a quick first down, but the Patriots’ offense stalled and they were forced to punt the ball.
Four plays later
Crenshaw hit tight end Miles Hulick with a screen pass and the junior outraced the PLAS defense into the endzone.
The Patriots was able to score one last time late in the second quarter. A pass interference call on the Eagles moved the ball to the Fort Dale 31-yard line. Sanders found Conrad again, with the wide receiver hauling in a tipped ball and carrying it inside the 10-yard line. Hughes took it to the one and from there Sanders took it in with 0:29 remaining in the half to make the score 35-12.
Ward elected to go with a four wide receiver set for most of the game, dropping Sanders back in the shotgun. It payed off on occasion during the game with Sanders finding Conrad for some big gains. But the junior quarterback also had a pair of early interceptions.
"I don’t think we’re going to line up against many people and go head to head," said Ward. "We’ve got to utilize our quickness more and give the quarterback a chance to see the field."
Eagles’ head coach James ‘Speed’ Sampley said he was "surprised" at first to see the Patriots’ come out with the spread formation.
"After I got to watching them," he said, "then I knew why Coach Ward did it. They’ve got a good quarterback that can throw and they had some players that could go and catch the ball. I thought Coach Ward’s bunch was well prepared and they fought us hard all the way to the end."
Ward said he was mostly pleased with the work of Sanders and his offense.
"Layton had the early interceptions because we missed a couple of reads," he said. "This was the first time we’ve ran this sort of thing and I think, for the most part, Layton did a real good job. Druid Conrad caught the ball well and I think the offensive line did a real good job of blocking considering Fort Dale had those big kids up front."
Sophomore tailback Dusty Kimbrow scored the Patriots’ last touchdown, which came on a two yard run the final play of the game.