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A nice hole opens up for Arthur Woods
Photos by Jason Caldwell

Rebels fall short in title game


The Fyffe dynasty continues.

The Red Devils (14-1) earned a 43-24 victory over Reeltown (13-1), coached by Matt Johnson, in Friday’s AHSAA Super 7 Class 2A state football championship game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Fyffe’s Logan Anderson ran 34 times for 256 yards and four touchdowns as Red Devils captured its seventh state championship in the last 10 seasons.

“These guys, we lost that first game this season (to Geraldine). We went to work,” Fyffe coach Paul Benefield said. “I’m so proud of them, I don’t have the words to say. They’re dogs, I’ll tell you that. I’m really proud, a rally proud coach tonight.”

In the last 10 seasons, Fyffe has compiled a 139-6 record, which means they have more state titles (7) than losses (6) during that span.

With victory, Benefield ties Central-Clay County’s Danny Horn at No. 2 on the all-time AHSAA football coaching win list. He now has a 351-56 career record.

Anderson, a junior, set Fyffe single-season records for rushing yards and touchdowns, finishing with more 2,864 yards on the ground and 45 touchdowns this season. “I’m not the best running back in Fyffe history, I just had good blocking,” he said. Anderson was Fyffe’s leading rusher as a sophomore but missed the state finals in 2022 when he injured his knee in the semifinals.

Reeltown fell in the championship round for the second time since 2019, having also lost to the Red Devils in the Class 2A title game in 2019.

Anderson ripped off a 77-yard on the game’s first play, as both teams started hot offensively. The first five drives – three for Fyffe and two for Reeltown – ended in touchdowns before the game’s first punt. Fyffe scored on its first five possessions.

The Red Devils seized firm control with an accidental onside kick to start the second half when Jesse Martin’s line-drive kickoff hit a Reeltown player, creating a live-ball situation, and Fyffe recovered. Ryder Gipson scored on a 30-yard run five players later, and the 2-point run made it 36-14.

“That was a big deal to start the second half,” Benefield said. “Put them behind the 8-ball there for the rest of the game.”

Added Johnson, “I think I was just as surprised as they were. Thy were trying to squib or pooch it. It just hit our guy. It was unfortunate for us and a huge momentum swing to start the second half.”

Reeltown’s Arthur Woods ran 15 times for 99 yards, including a 13-yard TD run, and finished his senior season rushing for more than 2,000 yards. He ended the year 2,244 yards on 169 carries and had 33 rushing touchdowns. Tae Martin scored on a 47-yard run and caught five passes for 38 yards, including a 12-yard TD reception from Jake Hornsby. Traylen Roberts also scored on a 10-yard run. Hornsby finished 17-of-22 passing for 149 yards and led the defense with nine tackles.

Tae Martin heads for paydirt

Gipson had six rush attempts for 134 yards, with TD runs of 65 and 30 yards, and led the defense with 11 carries for Fyffe. Quarterback Blake Dobbins attempted one pass, which fell incomplete. The Red Devils rolled up 398 yards on 44 runs, an average of 9 yards per carry.

Benefield said climbing the stairway to the school’s seventh title wasn’t easy, especially with a lineup featuring four freshmen starters and Anderson coming back from his knee injury that kept him out of last year’s championship game.

“You don’t ever doubt what he says,” offensive lineman Tucker Wilks, referring to Benefield. “You trust him because he’s the best.”