PREP FOOTBALL: Fairview finishes season with 21-20 win over rival Broncos

 Martha Needham for the Cullman Tribune

Aggie Quarterback Dayne Black racked up 142 yards and two touchdowns in Fairview's win over Holly Pond Friday night. (Martha Needham for the Cullman Tribune)

FAIRVIEW – Holly Pond and Fairview faced off in the final regular season game of the year and it was a dandy. It was a real, hard-fought battle between both teams and in the end, the Aggies came out on top 21-20.

Both teams were forced to punt on their opening possessions. Fairview got on the scoreboard on the first play of its next possession when Parker Martin found Mason Black on a swing pass and he took it down the right side for a 68-yard touchdown to make it 7-0, Aggies, with 4:18 remaining in the opening period. Black finished with 81-yards on a pair of receptions in the game. The score stayed the same to end the quarter. After each team forced turnovers to start out the second period, a bad Aggies snap sailed over the punter’s head and the Broncos’ Rip McBee recovered the ball in the end zone to make it a 7-6 game after the failed 2-point conversion.

Fairview looked to answer on its next possession and started to get a drive going behind the legs of Dayne Black and Tyvn Ellis. They each got a first down during the drive, but the Bronco defense tightened up and forced a turnover on downs. After a Holly Pond punt, the Aggies fumbled the ball and Levi Boatright recovered it for the Broncos, but they were forced to punt once again.

After a big 36-yard pass play from Martin to Devan Jennings, Fairview was in business at the 38-yard line but fumbled the ball once again and Bronco Tyler Boatright recovered. Holly Pond scored right as the half ended on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Kyler Chaney to Isaac Ludwig and went into the half on top, 14-7.

Holly Pond got the ball first to start out the second half and Jeremiah Holmes and Tyler Simmons led the way on the ground for the Broncos. A targeting penalty on Fairview put the ball at the 9-yard line and Holmes found the end zone on the next play to increase the Broncos' lead to 20-7 with 7:05 remaining in the third period.

Dayne Black quickly got the Aggies off to a fast start on their first series of the half as he picked up 21 on the first play. Ellis, on the third play, picked up 12 more on the ground. Dayne Black later found the end zone on a 1-yard run to make it a 20-14 game after the made PAT. The Broncos fumbled on their next possession and Ellis recovered the loose ball at the 40-yard line.

The running game for Fairview continued to give Holly Pond fits as Dayne Black and Ellis continued to pile up the first downs for the Aggies. But the biggest play came on fourth-and-16 from the 22-yard line. Martin dropped back to pass, but then found a huge hole on the right side and he scrambled for 20 yards and a huge first down. On the next play, Dayne Black found the end zone and that put the Aggies on top, 21-20, with 9:08 remaining in the game. He finished with 142 rushing yards on 21 carries and a pair of touchdowns.

A huge sack by Ellis on the ensuing possession forced another Bronco punt, and the Aggies looked to milk the remaining time off the clock. Two big first-down runs by Dayne Black helped the situation, but the Bronco defense stiffened up and forced a Martin interception in the end zone on fourth down.

Holly Pond was down to its final possession, but Brody Rowell completed a huge 28-yard pass to Alex Corneglio and a 14-yard pass to Tyler Boatright to keep the game alive. Rowell then spiked the ball to stop the clock. Then came the play of the game as Dante Dumas stepped in front of a Rowell pass and picked it off to seal the win and help the Aggies finish the season at 5-5.

Ellis added 68 yards on the ground on 17 carries for Fairview. The defense came to play, forcing three Bronco turnovers on the night. Six Fairview players played their final game on Friday: Devan Jennings, Dayne Black, Dumas, Alex Medina, Jared Bachelor and Elvis Pesina.

“I think we showed a lot of toughness before the game even started,” Fairview head coach George Redding, Jr. said. “This game comes down to toughness and I believe both teams showed that. We had some bad penalties and some bad turnovers that kept us behind the chains. That put us in a situation where we had to come back in the second half. I don’t know if we were able to shut them down on offense, but I do know this: I thought our defense played tremendous. Our defensive staff had a great game plan put together. We played lights out with just being disciplined. They hit some big plays on us, but we kept bouncing back, making some big plays in some big-time moments.”

Redding praised Dayne Black on his tremendous career at Fairview and Martin for stepping up when he needed him to. He also talked about his seniors and how much they have meant to him.

“He had a tremendous career here,” Redding said of Dayne Black. “How about a young man who breaks his throwing arm a couple of weeks ago. The first thing you think, you know, he can’t be quarterback. He begs to differ though. I thought Parker Martin did an outstanding job, coming back, giving us relief. And I think Dayne and his leadership abilities were tremendous here tonight. I think it’s unbelievable; it’s just a great opportunity for your seniors to go out winning. We would much rather be in the playoffs, but we missed it, so the only thing that we could do is try to win this last one for our guys. And I think the guys really pulled together and did that tonight.”

Holmes finished the night with 56 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown for the Broncos. Simmons added 49 more on the ground. Chaney finished 4-of-5 for 25 yards and a touchdown before being knocked out of the game on the targeting penalty. The Broncos forced four Aggie turnovers on the night as Levi Boatright and Tyler Boatright each had fumble recoveries. Rowell and Ludwig each had interceptions on the night. The Broncos finish the season with a 6-4 record and will travel to Geraldine for the first round of the AHSAA playoffs next Friday night.

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