PREP FOOTBALL: Ellis, running game carry Fairview to 31-14 win over West Morgan

Gary McGriff for The Cullman Tribune

Fairview Quarterback Dayne Black reaches for the end zone in the Aggies’ 31-14 win over West Morgan. (Gary McGriff for The Cullman Tribune)

TRINITY – On the first Friday night of the 2018 football season that actually had weather that felt as fall should feel, Coach George Redding took his Fairview Aggies (2-4) to take on Coach Mikel Riggs’ West Morgan Rebels (1-6).

Fairview began the game moving the ball 9 yards on three plays.  With the ball on their own 49-yard line, the Aggies attempted to convert the first down.  The Rebels stopped Dayne Black’s run and took over at Fairview’s 48-yard line. With West Morgan threatening, Fairview’s defense needed to stop the Rebels. The first two plays netted minus-6 yards and an incomplete pass forced the Rebels to punt. 

Fairview began its second possession deep on its own end of the field. On the second play, quarterback Black ran through the defense 56 yards to the Rebels’ 25-yard line. Three plays later, Tyvn Ellis scored on a 2-yard run.  Black completed the drive with a 2-point conversion to make the score 8-0. 

The ensuing kickoff was out of bounds and the Rebels began their drive on their own 35. The combination of quarterbacks, John Phillips and Wesley Whisenant, helped West Morgan drive down for a touchdown. The 16-play, 65-yard drive was highlighted by two fourth-down conversions on the arm and legs of Phillips, capped off by a 14-yard touchdown run from Whisenant. Whisenant completed the 2-point conversion pass to make the score 8-8 with 11:49 to go in the first half. 

Both teams struggled with penalties and turnovers.  The Aggies intercepted a pass and the Rebels recovered a Fairview muffed punt deep in Fairview territory. West Morgan managed only 7 yards on the next three plays. On fourth down, Fairview was penalized for being offsides, giving the Rebels a first down. Two plays later, Phillips ran 25 yards for a touchdown. The PAT was no good, and the Rebels led at the half, 14-8. 

At halftime, Fairview’s passing game was struggling, going 2 for 6 for minus-8 yards. The Aggies intercepted Phillips on the first play of the second half and it quickly became apparent that Redding was going to run the ball and challenge the Rebels to stop the Aggies running game. Five straight runs by Black and Ellis completed the drive and Ellis finished it by scoring on a 29-yard run. The 2-point conversion was good, making the score 16-14, Fairview. 

Fairview’s defense held the Rebels to limited yardage and Fairview looked to be driving to another touchdown when Black appeared to score from the 15 yards out. The touchdown was called back on an illegal procedure penalty. On the next play, Ellis scored from 20 yards out. Unfortunately, Fairview was penalized for holding, nullifying another touchdown. Three plays later, the drive ended when West Morgan intercepted Black’s pass. 

Fairview’s defense continued its great second half, forcing West Morgan to turn over the ball on downs twice. Continuing to run the ball, Fairview completed an eight-play drive with Black scoring on a 4-yard touchdown run. With the successful two-point conversion, Fairview led 24-14 with 4:06 left in the game.

After Fairview forced the second turnover on downs, Ellis scored on a 40-yard touchdown run. Devan Jennings converted the PAT to make the final score 31-14. Fairview’s run game ended up being the difference in the ballgame, aided by a stellar defensive performance. 

Fairview ended the game with 370 yards of rushing.  Black led the way with 200 yards rushing followed by Ellis with 127 yards. 

Fairview improves to 3-4 on the year and 2-3 in the region, while West Morgan falls to 1-7. Fairview hosts the Randolph Raiders from Huntsville next week.

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