By Marla Jones, Reporter • firstname.lastname@example.org
AUBURN, Ala. — The Fyffe Red Devils defeated the Luverne Tigers, 21-19 to claim the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Class 2A State Title.
The first quarter of the game was a defensive battle with neither team putting points on the board.
With 8:56 remaining in the first half, Payton Anderson bulldozed his way into the endzone on a 7-yard run. The kick by Brody Dalton was good, giving the Red Devils the 7-0 lead. Luverne down the field and with 5:28 remaining in the second quarter scored a touchdown. In what was only the second time in Super 7 Championship history, the touchdown was overturned after watching the instant replay. The Tigers were forced to kick a 31-yard field goal to make the score 7-3. With 1:10 remaining in the first half, the Red Devils held Luverne and forced them to settle with a 28-yard field goal, to go into the half trailing Fyffe 7-6.
Payton Anderson broke one up the middle for a 33-yard touchdown with 3.27 remaining in the third quarter. The kick by Brody Dalton was good, making the score 14-6 to close out the third quarter.
The Luverne Tigers answered back with a 8-yard run for the score. The Tigers went for two but were shut down by the Red Devils, to make the score 14-12.. Payton Stoner got on the board with a 19-yard pass connection from Zach Pryon, with 4:18 remaining in the game,to make the score 21-12. With 2:34 remaining in the game, Luverne dashed into the endzone on a 1-yard run. The extra point attempt was good, narrowing the Red Devil lead to 21-19. With :10 remaining in the game, the Red Devils held the Luverne Tigers on the 49 yard line to claim their third State Championship in five years.
Fyffe had 192 yards on the ground to Luverne’s 202 yards. The Tigers passed for a total of 237 to Fyffe’s 72 yards.
Senior, Payton Anderson ran for 177 yards and scored two touchdowns in the game. Anderson finished the season with 2,114 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns. Anderson was named the Game MVP, running the ball 29 times and averaging 6.1 yards per carry.
Ninth grade quarterback, Zach Pyron completed 3-of-4 passes. He had a 56-yard punt and made five tackles.
Payton Stoner had two catches for 43 yards, one touchdown and six tackles.
Tyler Kinard recorded 10 tackles and one sack.
“The kids played with courage and heart, and persevered through a lot of bad times this year,” said Fyffe Head Coach Paul Benefield. “I’m so proud of them, I don't even know how I can express in words.”
This win gave Benefield his third state championship in five years and improved his overall coaching record to 282-53. Fans across Northeast Alabama have called him the DeKalb “Nick Saban”. This sportswriter would have to agree.