PREP FOOTBALL: Fairview holds off West Morgan 35-28 for region win

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Fairview’s Mason Black (6) stiff arms a West Morgan defender during the Aggies’ 35-28 win Friday night. (Gary McGriff for The Cullman Tribune)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. – On a beautiful fall evening at Dafford Smith Stadium in Fairview, the West Morgan Rebels took on the Aggies in a Class 4A, Region 7 showdown and Fairview looked to continue its winning ways from last week.

The Aggies won the toss and the Rebels began the game on offense at their own 15-yard line. West Morgan wasted no time as Glavine Segars hit Jakobe Fletcher for 85 yards and a touchdown. The PAT was good and with just 13 seconds off the clock the Rebels jumped out to a 7-0 lead.

Fairview started its drive on its own 28-yard line. Quarterback Parker Martin took over with a run of 22 yards and on the fourth play hit Eli Speegle on a 42-yard touchdown pass. Jesus Hernandez converted the extra point and with 9:38 left in the first quarter tied the game 7-7.

Both teams failed to sustain drives for the remainder of the quarter and started the second quarter tied at 7. Fairview started the second quarter with its third drive of the game. Aided by two personal foul penalties on the Rebels, Fairview had the ball at West Morgan’s 2-yard line. With 6:43 left in the half, Tyvn Ellis scored on a run making the score 14-7.

On their next drive, the Rebels began a 13-play scoring drive. The highlight of the drive was a pass completion of 6 yards from Segars to Jakobe Griffin. Fairview’s Dalton Payne tipped the pass and Griffin completed the catch while sitting on the ground. Zachary Alexander ran in from the 1-yard line to complete the scoring drive and with 1:12 left in the half the score was tied at 14.

Taking over at the 23-yard line, it appeared the score would be tied at half. The Aggies had other ideas, and when Martin hit Ellis for 50 yards, Fairview was quickly in scoring position.  Ellis completed the drive on the next play, running for 18 yards and a touchdown. Hernandez added the extra point and with 39 seconds left in the first half Fairview led 21-14.

Fairview took its second drive of the third quarter and using back-to-back 22-yard runs by Tyler Simmons and Martin scored a touchdown in just five plays. Simmons ran for the touchdown from the 14-yard line and Hernandez extended Fairview’s lead to 28-14 with 4:41 left in the third quarter. It was the only score of the quarter.

Continuing their drive from the third quarter, the Rebels were facing a fourth-and-1 from their own 40-yard line. Kaden Cook’s pass appeared to fall incomplete, but the Aggies were flagged for pass interference, giving West Morgan a first down at Fairview’s 45-yard line. On the fourth play, Segars and Fletcher hooked up again for a 29-yard touchdown pass. With the PAT good and 10:00 minutes left in the game, the score was 28-21 Fairview.

Fairview was penalized on the kickoff for a personal foul on West Morgan’s PAT and the Rebels kicked off from the Fairview 45-yard line. The Aggies averted a turnover, recovering a fumble at their own 9-yard line. With the game in doubt, Fairview needed to answer and the Aggies did just that, marching 91 yards in 13 plays, using up 5:16 on the clock. Simmons had a run of 22 yards to highlight the drive and punched in a 3-yard touchdown run to extend the score to 35-21 with 4:44 left in the game.

On West Morgan’s next drive, it appeared that Fairview had closed out the game when Speegle recovered a fumble by Caleb Terry on West Morgan’s 47-yard line. On the second play, the Rebels’ Cook intercepted Martin’s pass and returned the ball 33 yards. A penalty against the Aggies gave the Rebels excellent field position at the Fairview 16-yard line and just five plays later, Alexander scored on a 1-yard run and West Morgan narrowed the score to 35-28 with 1:07 left in the game.

Fairview knew an onside kick was coming and put its “hands” team up front for the kickoff.  The Aggies recovered and looked to close out the game. Ellis had one more run in him and almost scored. He was tackled at the 5-yard line and the Aggies went into their victory formation to run out the clock, winning the game 35-28.

The first half was played evenly with Fairview going for 212 total yards to West Morgan’s 208. In the second half, Fairview held the Rebels to just 112 total yards while maintaining consistency with 213 total yards.

Ellis led all rushers with 122 yards on 14 carries. Martin completed the night throwing for 130 yards while going 11-for-16 passing.

When asked about that first play for a touchdown by the Rebels, Fairview Head Coach George Redding said, “We expected that play at some point in the game. We didn’t execute and they scored on a long pass play. Our team showed mental toughness by not getting down. We stuck with the game plan and got a big win.”

Fairview improves to 5-2 and 4-1 in region play. The Aggies travel to Huntsville next week to take on the Randolph Raiders.

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