Photo by Sammy Confer
FAIRVIEW – Hanceville (Class 3A, Region 5) and Fairview (Class 4A, Region 7) faced off in the Aggies’ home opener Friday night, and the Aggies ended up taking the game, 32-22.
The Bulldogs’ first possession started out slowly, but then, on a third-and-8 from the 40, Fred Ellis found Allen Huckaby for a 39-yard completion, but they wound up fumbling the ball and the Aggies recovered at the 25-yard line. Fairview, though, quickly went three-and-out on its first series.
A few big runs by Hanceville on its next series saw the Bulldogs closing in on the end zone as they were just outside the 20, but Fairview’s defense stood tall and stuffed R.J Evans on fourth down.
The Aggies’ Dayne Black burst through for some big yardage as he picked up three first downs early on, but Fairview’s offense stalled after that and was forced to punt; the ball sailed over the head of Devan Jennings and the Bulldogs found themselves in excellent field position at the 17-yard line.
On just the second play of the series, Romael Simmons burst through the line and scored on a 13-yard run to give the Bulldogs an 8-0 lead with 8:48 remaining in the first half after the 2-point conversion.
Fairview quickly struck on its next drive as Devyn Ellis broke free for a 44-yard run on the first play, quickly putting the Aggies at the 16, then Black gained 14 of the final 16 yards on the series, including a 1-yard touchdown to put them on the scoreboard 8-6 with 6:52 remaining in the half after the missed PAT.
Hanceville moved the ball down the field with ease on its next series, as a big 31-yard reception by Simmons, plus a very hard-nosed 16-yard run by Evans, saw the Bulldogs looking to make it into the end zone once again, but Bo Joles’ pass got picked off by Black, then two Aggie turnovers, plus a three-and-out by Hanceville later on, kept the score at 8-6 going into the half.
The fireworks started on Fairview’s first series of the second half. Black ripped off a 43-yard run on just the second play to put the Aggies at the 24-yard line. After Black gained 8 more on a second-and-10, Ellis found a big hole on the right side and scored on a 16-yard run in a series that took them only 1:50 to score; that gave them a 12-8 lead. Hanceville quickly took the lead right back on the ensuing kickoff as Huckaby took it and ran 70 yards for the score; in just 18 seconds, the Bulldogs were up 14-12.
A great kick-off return by Dante Dumas put the Aggies in excellent field position at the 41. A pair of Hanceville penalties later in the series, plus a 12-yard connection from Dayne Black to Mason Black, put them inside the 10-yard line, but back-to-back flags later in the series pushed them back to the 30. Fairview, though, was determined to find the end zone, and Black found Dumas for a 30-yard touchdown pass to give the Aggies the lead right back at 20-12 with 4:45 remaining in the third.
The Bulldogs were forced to punt on their next series, and Black continued to give Hanceville fits on the ground as he picked up three first downs, plus Mason Black snagged a 17-yard reception during the series and Black found the end zone on a 10-yard run to stretch the Aggies’ lead to 26-14 with 9:45 remaining in the game. He finished with 155 yards rushing and a pair of scores; he also added 91 more through the air and a touchdown.
Hanceville looked to get back in the game on its next series. Ellis picked up two big first downs with his legs (17 and 11 yards) and his arm as he found Huckaby for a 14-yard gain, and Evans finished the drive off with a 4-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to just four at 26-22 with 7:53 remaining in the game.
Fairview, though, milked over five minutes off the clock on its next series as Ellis gained big yards on the drive, plus Black found Eli Speegle for 21 yards and he found Mason Black for 13 yards later in the drive, and Black finished the drive with a 1-yard score to make it a 32-22 lead for Fairview with 2:32 remaining in the game. Hanceville, though, didn’t quit as Ellis found the end zone on a 44-yard run, but the Bulldogs got called for a personal foul. Later on, Ellis found the end zone on a 43-yard run, but again, a personal foul and an unsportsmanlike conduct flag pushed Hanceville back further, and the Bulldogs wound up turning the ball over on downs.
The Aggies milked the rest of the time off the clock, winning their home opener as they are now 1-1 on the season. Ellis finished with 88 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. Mason Black and Parker Martin each had a sack in the game; Dalton Payne and the rest of the defense had a good game on defense.
Fairview coach George Redding saw what was a great, hard-fought game between both teams tonight.
“I thought it was a hard-fought game on both sides,” Redding said. “Both teams were making some plays and some crucial stops at some crucial moments. It was just one of those deals that the time just ran out. If the game was still going on, Hanceville would still be moving the ball at times and we would still be making some stops at times, and it’s just one of those deals that the game just ended.”
Redding praised Black and Ellis for their big games tonight.
“They are both great guys; I think they complemented each other really well tonight,” Redding added. “Tyvn’s an extremely hard runner; he did a great job of working off his guys up front and working off of his blocks. He’s such a hard runner and is such a presence that it opens up our quarterback runs, and Dayne did a fantastic job of gaining some big yards. There were some big holes on a bunch of those plays and when there wasn’t, he gained some tough yards.”
With region play starting next week against DAR at home, Redding is extremely pleased to get a win going into that week.
Redding added, “Any time you get a win, it helps with the team morale and it also helps with overall school pride and things like that. I think the win is going to help us, but it’s just one of those deals that, whether you win or lose, you just have to lay that aside and you have to get refocused on what you’re doing. This week’s win is not going to win next week. Preparation is the key.”
Evans finished with 78 yards on carries and a touchdown, Simmons added a rushing touchdown and Huckaby had the kickoff return for a touchdown for the Bulldogs, who are now 1-1 on the season and will look to rebound in their region opener at home against J.B. Pennington.
Matt Dixon scored four touchdowns for Good Hope, three of those coming in the first half; Bailey Quick, Colton Bagwell and Preston Bagwell each scored one.
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