PREP FOOTBALL: Aggies fall to Guntersville in 1st round 24-13

Fairview’s Barrett York (19) carries the ball during the Aggies’ 24-13 loss to Guntersville Friday night. (Martha Needham/The Cullman Tribune)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. – In the first round of the AHSAA 5A State Football Championship Playoffs, the Guntersville Wildcats traveled to Dafford Smith Stadium to take on the Fairview Aggies. The winner would move on the second round and the Wildcats came out on top 24-13.

Fairview took the opening kickoff hoping their offense would control the ball and keep Guntersville off the field. After a bad snap, the Aggies were unable to convert a first down. The Wildcats took possession on their own 27-yard line. After completing three straight passes, Guntersville quarterback Brandon Fussell ran for a 32-yard touchdown. With 8:55 left in the first quarter, the Wildcats had a 7-0 lead.

On their next possession, the Aggies managed six plays. They were forced to punt and after a blind-side block against the Wildcats, Guntersville was forced to begin their drive on their own 11-yard line. On the second play of the possession, Juyon Jordan ran for a 75-yard touchdown. With 5:21 left in the first quarter, Guntersville’s lead was 14-7.

Aided by a personal foul penalty against Guntersville, the Aggies completed an 80-yard scoring drive when Eli Frost scored on a 10-yard touchdown run with 33 seconds left in the first quarter. With the successful PAT, Fairview closed the score to 14-7.

Guntersville continued into the second quarter with a 12-play drive that resulted in a 24-yard field goal from kicker Diego Lugo. With 7:33 left in the half, the Wildcats extended their lead to 17-7.

On the Aggies next drive, they were into Guntersville side of the field. Facing long yardage on third and fourth down, Fairview’s trick plays failed to produce a first down and the first half came to an end with Guntersville leading 17-7.

Frost ended the first half with 146 yards on 20 rushes. Fairview had 144 total yards after suffering some negative yardage plays. Guntersville had 228 total yards in the first half.

The third quarter was a hard-fought defensive struggle between both teams and resulted in a scoreless quarter. Beginning the fourth quarter with Guntersville still leading 17-7.

To begin the fourth quarter, both teams turned the ball over on downs. With time running out, Guntersville took over near midfield. Facing a fourth and one from the 50-yard line, Jordan ran for six yards for a critical first down. Four plays later, Jordan scored on a 38-yard touchdown run. With 3:37 left in the ballgame, Guntersville looked to be in total control with a 24-7 lead.

Fighting until the end, Fairview drove the length of the field and as time expired, Caiden Hall completed a 45-yard touchdown pass to Cylas Yarbrough. The final score was 24-13 and the Wildcats advanced to the second round of the AHSAA playoffs. The Aggies season came to an end with a 7-4 record. Eli Frost finished the game with 220 yards on 36 carries.

After the game, Fairview Head Coach George Redding said, “Our players overcame a lot this week with injuries and illnesses. I couldn’t be prouder of this team.”

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