PREP FOOTBALL: Aggies ready for semifinal clash at No. 2 Pleasant Grove

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Fairview’s Tyler Simmons (24), Parker Martin (9) and Eli Frost (3). (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. – For the first time in school history, the Fairview Aggies are in the final four of the Class 5A State Playoffs and now only one game stands between them and a spot in this year’s AHSAA 5A State Championship Game. Fairview has eliminated Fairfield, Russellville and Parker on its way to the semifinals and this week the Aggies will travel to Pleasant Grove for a matchup with the second-ranked Spartans. This will be the first ever meeting between Fairview and Pleasant Grove.

Fairview (12-1) at Pleasant Grove (11-1)

The Spartans have blown past Douglas, Leeds and Center Point in the first three rounds by a combined score of 139-21 so the Aggies aren’t the only team riding some momentum coming into this game. Pleasant Grove has been putting up over 44 points per game this season and Fairview Head Coach George Redding knows the Spartans can present a lot of problems on the defensive side of the ball as well.

“Really what we’ve seen from that whole region over there is just dynamic players, lots of team speed and the ability to create explosive plays offensively and they’re a team that’s willing to bring some pressure defensively,” Redding said. “Overall, they’re a physical defensive team.”

Pleasant Grove will have a lot of speed on the field for the Aggies to deal with and Redding wants his defensive guys to focus on limiting the Spartans’ explosive plays and running to the football.

“Matching up is always an issue when you’re playing teams that are faster than you like that, and their team speed is probably a little better than ours, so we have try to eliminate some of the explosive plays,” Redding said. “We have to do a really good job of running to the football and having everyone helping out and doing their job. That’s going to be important for us.”

Fairview will be coming to town with an explosive offense of its own and the Aggies seem to be improving each week regardless of who they face. Redding credits his team’s success to their mentality and preparation, focusing more on what they can they do to improve themselves than what opponents might do against them.

“I think this team has done a really good job of focusing on ourselves each and every week. We make it about us and its important each week that we continue to take steps and improve in the things that we do,” Redding said. “I think this team has really grasped that and done a really good with that. I don’t care what sport you’re playing or what you’re doing in life, every day you have to put your two feet on the floor and go to work and these guys have been willing to do that every day.”

This football season has been one to remember at Fairview High School, but the Aggies aren’t ready to wrap it up just yet. If this offense can remain red hot and the defense can build on its stellar performance in the second half against Parker, Fairview will have a chance to slide past Pleasant Grove and into the 5A State Championship Game.

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