PREP FOOTBALL: Fairview downs Parker 44-27, advances to semi-finals for 1st time in school history

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Fairview running back Eli Frost racked up 264 yards and five touchdowns on the ground in the Aggies’ 44-27 win over Parker Friday night. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. – The Fairview Aggies were back home at Dafford Smith Stadium Friday night after eliminating Russellville on the road last week and this week, they had to face the Thundering Herd of Parker. Both teams went back and forth trading touchdowns in the first half, but the Aggies were able to make some defensive stops in the second half and pulled away to defeat Parker 44-27, punching their ticket to the state semi-finals for the first time in school history. Sophomore star Eli Frost had a monster game, carrying the ball 22 times for a jaw dropping 264 yards and five touchdowns. The Aggies made all the key plays, and now Fairview has one game between them and a trip to the state finals.

The first half turned into a shootout as the Thundering Herd and Aggies swapped blow after blow. Fairview’s defense would force Parker to have to go 13 plays to get just 52 yards, but it was just enough to put them up 7-0. 

Fairview answered right back as senior Quarterback Parker Martin went 2/2 on the drive with 23 total yards before Frost capped it off with a 22-yard touchdown, tying it up 7-7. Parker used a couple big plays on the following drive to retake the lead after a 24-yard touchdown run, 14-7. 

After senior Tyler Simmons returned the kickoff 32 yards it set the Aggies up in Parker territory. Frost picked up right where he left off carrying the ball three straight times for 48 yards and the touchdown to notch it at 14 apiece. 

The shootout continued as the Thundering Herd went on another long drive that again used a couple big plays to go up 21-14. On the following drive Fairview found itself facing the first key play of the game on a 3rd and 8 deep in their own territory. Martin took the snap and burst through the gap for an 11-yard gain that kept the drive alive. Fast forward a few plays and Simmons took a handoff 40 yards to the house to tie things up at 21-21. 

With Parker driving Martin showed why he’s a two-time all-state defensive back. Parker took a deep shot that Martin would snag away from the Parker receiver for the interception, making the second key play of the game. Martin and Frost went right back to work. Frost again took the third play of the drive to the house on another 40-yard touchdown run, putting Fairview on top for the first time 27-21. 

With just a couple minutes left Fairview just needed one more stop to take a touchdown lead into the half with the ball coming back to them in the second half. Parker was able to move the ball to the 13-yard line with 3.9 seconds left to set up the game’s third key play. The Thundering Herd quarterback took the snap rolled to his left and threw it to a well-covered receiver and the ball fell incomplete, leaving the score 27-21 at the half. 

The Aggies set up on the 32-yard line to start the second half and Frost continued his dominance taking the first play 45 yards to put Fairview in the red zone. A few plays later and Frost grabbed his fourth rushing touchdown of the night. Frost, however, wasn’t done making plays. Frost forced and recovered a fumble on the fourth play of Parker’s drive.

The stingy Aggie defense won the fourth key play of the game when they sniffed out a fake punt attempt and forced a turnover on downs. With the ball in Parker territory Martin scrambled and found Caden Jennings for 15 yards for a big third down conversion on third and long. Another long Simmons run of 23 yards ultimately helped set up Fairview for a 27-yard field goal attempt. Senior special weapon Elijah Guyton knocked it through and put Fairview up 37-21. 

Desperation began to set in as Parker started taking shots down field, but that only led to a second turnover on downs. Fairview’s offensive line continued to dominate the line of scrimmage. With holes opening like the red sea Frost added 26 more yards and a fifth touchdown that all but sealed the Aggies win. 

With the 44-21 lead, Fairview forced Parker to bleed much of the clock on their 14-play drive that put the game at 44-27. After recovering the onside kick Frost would tack on 34 more yards to allow the Aggies to take a knee on the final play, sending Fairview into the semifinals. 

Frost had this to say on his career night,

“I just put all my hope in God, and it calms my nerves and I’m able to just play. My line is the best in the state, and they make my job so much easier,” Frost said. “I got hit pretty hard on the first drive, so I really just wanted to return the favor the rest of the game.” 

Martin wasn’t asked to do a ton on offense as they ran Frost, but he continued his brilliance, making key plays on both sides of the ball. When asked his thoughts he replied, “Speechless.” 

With all the wins under his belt win number 101 is definitely the sweetest for head coach George Redding. “I’m so proud of how our guys executed,” Redding said. “We wanted to keep things in front of us and forced them to have to make long drives and it started to really wear them down.” 

Coach Redding, who had a cabin booked in Gatlinburg for Thanksgiving, finished with this, “I’ve never been so happy to cancel a trip! We’re headed to the semis!”

Fairview has improved to a school record mark of 12-1 and will travel to play No.2 Pleasant Grove (12-1) next week.

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