PREP FOOTBALL: Aggies perform well over Hanceville in season opener

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CULLMAN – Now that Cullman's Oliver Woodard Stadium is the home for the Fairview Aggies this football season, they went out with a performance that pleased the coaching staff and the fans Friday night in coming back to knock off the Hanceville Bulldogs 27-12 in the season opener for both teams.

 

Fairview had to use the Cullman High campus after an engineer on Thursday declared Dafford Smith was unsafe for spectators. The Aggies will play all their home games at Cullman this season with the repairs for the bleachers on the home and visiting side of the stadium to begin as soon as possible.

 

Coach George Reeding thought his Aggies had the "Deer in the headlights" look in the first quarter with Fairview down 6-0. The Aggies managed just nine yards passing, 45 yards of offense and gave up a 52-yard run up the middle by Hanceville running back Dante' Reese.

 

Then in the second period, the momentum shifted to the Aggies. They scored three touchdowns to move into the lead. Early in the quarter, Austin Harris took it in from the one to tie the game.

 

The Fairview defense set up the go ahead score when Sambo Woods intercepted a pass and Fairview had the ball inside the Hanceville 10-yard line. In three plays, the Aggies led 12-6 in the quarter with quarterback Hayden Maples scoring from the five.

 

After a Bulldogs' drive lasted only four snaps, the Aggies got possession from the Fairview 23 and went 77 yards, gaining 66 yards in the air as Maples was six of seven in the drive. He hooked up with Austin Harris for a 26-yard gain and completed the series by a four-yard toss to Woods with nine seconds left in the half.

 

Harris added the two-point conversion and the Aggies were up at intermission, 20-6.

 

Down but not out, the Bulldogs controlled the line of scrimmage for much of the second half. Hanceville put the ball into the Fairview end zone, moving 92 yards in 22 plays. Reese ran for 73 yards on 16 attempts with the Aggies not able to keep him contained.

 

That set up Brennan Hurst taking it over from the one on fourth down and goal. The conversion failed, but Danny Miller's Bulldogs were back in business, trailing 20-12.

 

A short kickoff put Fairview in possession at its 42. Harris ran for 40 yards on three rushes against a tiring Hanceville defense. He scored from the five to put the game in the win column for the Aggies with 5:54 remaining.

 

Harris rushed for 117 yards and punched it into the end zone twice for the Aggies. Maples completed nine passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. The Aggies gained 237 yards from the offensive side with 10 first downs and no turnovers.

 

Reese ran for 149 yards and scored twice in a losing cause for the Bulldogs. Hanceville accounted for 196 yards with nine first downs and 186 yards coming by the running game.

 

This was the 50th victory for Redding at his alma mater. Redding is now coaching in his eighth season. This was Fairview's first time playing at Cullman High School since 1979.

 

Now Fairview looks to keep the momentum going when they head to Huntsville next Friday to play Randolph in the 5A, Region 7 opener for both squads.

 

Hanceville will try to regroup with the Bulldogs taking on Winston County at Ray Talley Stadium in the 3A, Region 5 opener.

 

Fairview's remaining games at Cullman High will be Sept. 12 vs. Boaz, Sept. 19 vs. Etowah, Sept. 19 against Holly Pond and Oct. 24 with Butler.