FORT PAYNE — The Fyffe Red Devils play for their third consecutive state championship and first since joining Class 3A with a visit to the AHSAA’s Super 7 state football championships at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa on Thursday.
But before the 14-0 Red Devils chase a historic third blue trophy in a row, here’s a look back at their 2020 season and how they advanced to the Super 7 for a sixth time in seven years.
Fyffe 48, Isabella 0:
Ike Rowell scored a pair of rushing touchdowns as the Fyffe Red Devils collected 350 yards of offense in a 48-0 victory against the Isabella Mustangs in their season debut at home Aug. 21.
Rowell carried the ball 15 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns. He also went 2-for-3 passing for 71 yards with no interceptions and a scoring pass to Brody Dalton.
Rowell scored on a 7-yard run with 2:43 remaining in the first quarter before completing a 24-yard scoring pass to Dalton with 46 seconds left in the period to give the Red Devils (1-0) a 14-0 advantage.
Fyffe extended its lead to 28-0 at intermission following a 10-yard scoring run by Justin Stiefel and a 1-yard touchdown dive by Kyle Dukes.
Rowell found the end zone again in the third with a 5-yard run and Hunter Gillilan added a scoring run of 23 yards to push the lead to 42-0 with 1:45 remaining in the quarter.
Brodie Hicks capped the night’s scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:49 left to play.
Dalton made all six PAT kick attempts for the Red Devils.
Fyffe finished with 289 yards rushing and collected just two penalties for 20 yards. The Red Devils had 18 first downs to the Mustangs’ nine.
Zack Chapman led Isabella (0-1) with 81 yards rushing on 25 attempts.
Fyffe 54, Collinsville 0:
Ike Rowell and Hunter Machen each scored a pair of touchdowns as the Fyffe Red Devils shut out Collinsville 54-0 in a region opener for both teams Sept. 4.
Rowell had a 51-yard interception return for a touchdown to put Fyffe (2-0) ahead 14-0 with 6:05 remaining in the first quarter after Kyle Dukes scored on a 1-yard run.
Malachi Mize rushed for a 21-yard score with 2 minutes left in the opening period to make it 21-0.
Rowell peeled off a 51-yard scoring run early in the second quarter, before Justin Stiefel and Brodie Hicks added scoring runs of 15 and 28 yards, respectively, to give the Red Devils a 41-0 advantage at halftime.
Machen scored on a 6-yard run in the third and a 28-yard run in the fourth.
Fyffe finished with 381 yards rushing to 33 for the Panthers (2-1).
The Red Devils collected 24 first downs. Collinsville finished with four first downs.
Fyffe 49, Sylvania 20:
Ike Rowell rushed for three touchdowns, and Brodie Hicks and Kyle Dukes each ran for two scores as Fyffe head coach Paul Benefield earned his 300th career coaching win in a 49-20 triumph over Sylvania on Sept. 11.
The Red Devils (3-0) rushed for 354 yards and held the Rams scoreless for three quarters of a Class 3A, Region 7 game.
Rowell finished with 164 yards rushing on 12 carries, Dukes had nine carries for 87 yards and Hicks ran four times for 51 yards.
Fyffe pulled ahead 14-0 in the first quarter with scoring runs by Dukes and Rowell, respectively. Rushing touchdowns by Rowell, Dukes and Hicks pushed Fyffe to a 35-0 halftime lead.
Gareth Anderson finished with 11 carries for 100 yards rushing for Sylvania. Braiden Thomas had 73 yards rushing on nine carries. Brody Smith was 6-of-10 passing for 47 yards.
Styles Hughes scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown for the Rams with 8:41 left in the fourth, Harris scored on a 5-yard run a minute later and Jackson Smith added an 8-yard touchdown run with 5 seconds left.
Fyffe 54, Brindlee Mountain 6:
The Fyffe Red Devils scored five touchdowns in the first quarter and rolled to a 54-6 blowout win against the Brindlee Mountain Lions in Guntersville on Sept. 18.
Ike Rowell completed all three passing attempts for 125 yards and two scores for the Red Devils (4-0, 3-0 Class 3A, Region 7).
Malachi Mize caught two passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Dukes had 162 yards rushing on two carries for two two touchdowns.
Fyffe finished with 315 yards rushing and 125 passing.
Fyffe 21, Clarke County 0:
Ike Rowell ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as Fyffe’s defense shined in a 21-0 victory against the Clarke County Bulldogs in Fyffe on Sept. 25.
The Red Devils (5-0, 3-0 Class 3A, Region 7) remained undefeated as their defense surrendered only two first downs. The Bulldogs (3-2, 2-0) crossed midfield only one time, reaching the 42-yard line.
Rowell ran in for a 6-yard score with 7:29 left in the first half to give Fyffe its first touchdown, before adding a 9-yard scoring run with 50 seconds remaining in the half to make it 14-0 at intermission.
Rowell hit Brody Dalton for a 32-yard scoring connection with 9:31 to play in the final period.
Dalton made all three extra-point kick attempts for the Red Devils.
Rowell finished with 161 yards rushing on 29 carries and Kyle Dukes added 43 yards on 11 carries.
Fyffe 42, Plainview 12:
Ike Rowell rushed for 195 yards and four touchdowns and added another score through the air as the Fyffe Red Devils knocked off Class 3A, Region 7 rival Plainview 42-12 in a game of undefeated teams in Rainsville on Oct. 2.
Rowell scored on runs of 48, 65 and 3 yards in the second quarter to lift the Red Devils (6-0, 4-0) to a 21-6 halftime lead.
In the third quarter, Rowell found Brody Dalton for a 23-yard scoring connection to push Fyffe’s advantage to 28-6.
Rowell added an 8-yard run in the fourth and finished with 19 carries.
The Red Devils finished with 321 yards of offense (298 rushing). Plainview (5-1, 2-1) had 208 yards of offense (194 rushing).
Jathan Underwood led Plainview’s run game with 79 yards on nine carries, Brody McCurdy scored two touchdowns and finished with 53 yards rushing on 10 attempts.
Fyffe 55, North Sand Mountain 0:
Filling in at quarterback, Hunter Gillilan ran for three touchdowns and threw for another as the Fyffe Red Devils whipped the North Sand Mountain Bison 55-0 in a game between undefeated teams at Paul Benefield Stadium in Fyffe on Oct. 8.
Gillilan ran for 105 yards on 11 carries and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Brody Dalton for the game’s first points with 4:13 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Red Devils (7-0, 4-0 Class 3A Region 7) collected 349 yards of offense, including 332 yards rushing to remain undefeated.
Fyffe led 35-0 at halftime behind scoring runs of 5, 2 and 2 yards by Gillilan and a 13-yard touchdown run by Kyle Dukes. Dukes finished with 14 carries for 82 yards and two scores, adding a 6-yard touchdown run with 8:10 left in the third quarter.
Brodie Hicks ran for 51 yards on six attempts. He scored on a 17-yard run to extend Fyffe’s lead to 49-0 with :33 remaining in the third and capped the scoring with a 7-yard run at the 5:32 mark in the fourth.
Tyler Machen had two carries for 60 yards, Dalton made all six extra-point kick attempts and Yahir Balcazar made 1 of 2 PAT kick tries for the Red Devils.
Fyffe recorded 18 first downs to NSM’s six, while holding the Bison to 101 yards of offense.
Fyffe 51, Geraldine 7: The Fyffe dynasty continues as the Red Devils added another milestone to their successful run with a 51-7 victory against county rival Geraldine on Oct. 16.
The Fyffe victory tied the state record for most consecutive regular-season wins with 56 and gave them their fifth consecutive region title. It was also the Red Devils first region championship in Class 3A after moving up a classification this season.
The last time Fyffe lost a regular-season game was in 2015 to Cleveland.
The Red Devils had to get the victory without three of their best players in Ike Rowell and Eli Benefield. Caleb Lyles returned to the field this week but wasn’t 100%.
Even with those players out Fyffe stepped up and dominated Geraldine with 508 yards of total offense with 454 yards rushing.
Hunter Gillilan led the way with 129 yards rushing on 12 carries and two touchdowns. He also was 2-for-4 passing for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Gillilan scored the first touchdown of the game on a 7-yard run with 7:21 remaining in the first quarter. Brody Dalton added the extra point to make it 7-0.
On Geraldine’s first drive Kyle Dukes intercepted Bulldogs’ quarterback Bo Harper. Gillilan then connected with Malachi Mize for a 19-yard touchdown pass. Dalton added the extra point for a 14-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Gillilan scored again on an 11-yard run that capped off an 11-play 94-yard drive. Dalton gave the Red Devils a 21-0 lead with the extra-point.
With 3:29 remaining in the first half, Dukes scored on a 9-yard run. The extra-point attempt failed and Fyffe led 27-0.
Dalton recovered from the missed extra-point and made a 20-yard field goal with 2.4 seconds remaining in the first half to give Fyffe a 30-0 lead at halftime.
Mize added another score for Fyffe with 9:32 remaining in the third quarter on a 33-yard run. Dalton added the extra-point.
Geraldine got on the board with 3:24 remaining in the third on a 5-yard run from Anthony Baldwin that capped off a 12-play 65-yard drive. Jose Garcia added the extra point and Fyffe led 37-7.
Brodie Hicks scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter on runs of 8 and 48 yards to make the final score 51-7.
For Fyffe, Dukes had 85 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown. Hicks had 66 yards on five carries and two touchdowns. Mize had 56 yards on 6 carries and a touchdown.
Baldwin finished with 42 yards rushing and a touchdown for Geraldine and Troy Willoughby had 32 yards rushing.
Fyffe 54, Asbury 0: Brodie Hicks rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns as the Fyffe Red Devils rumbled past the Asbury Rams 54-0 for their record-breaking 57th consecutive regular-season win at Paul Benefield Stadium in Fyffe on Oct. 23.
A week after winning their fifth straight region title and first as a member of Class 3A, the Red Devils (9-0, 6-0 Class 3A, Region 7) broke the state record for most regular-season wins in a row.
Fyffe gained 512 yards rushing while holding the Rams to minus-8 yards on the ground.
Hicks scored on a 4-yard run, Will Stephens scored on a 12-yard run, Ike Rowell added a 53-yard touchdown run and Malachi Mize had a 53-yard scoring run to lift Fyffe to a commanding 27-0 advantage heading into the second quarter.
Kyle Dukes rushed for an 8-yard score early in the second period and finished with five carries for 108 yards for the Red Devils. Hicks broke free for a 56-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter and Hunter Machen rushed for a 44-yard score at the 3:47 mark in the third.
Fyffe was scheduled to visit Scottsboro on Oct. 30, but after Scottsboro was forced to cancel due to COVID-19 quarantines among the team, the Red Devils settled for a win by forfeit and an off week before the state playoffs began.
Fyffe 69, Oakman 21: Ike Rowell ran for five touchdowns and threw for another as the Fyffe Red Devils poured in a season-high scoring effort in a 69-21 win against the Oakman Wildcats in their Class 3A state playoff opener at Paul Benefield Stadium in Fyffe on Nov. 6.
The Red Devils (11-0) advanced to the second round, hosting Walter Wellborn.
Rowell carried 17 times for 225 yards and five rushing touchdowns. He added a 26-yard scoring pass to Hunter Gillilan with 39 seconds left in the first half to give Fyffe a 42-21 advantage.
Justin Stiefel returned five kickoffs for 98 yards for the Red Devils. Kyle Dukes had eight carries for 73 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown run. Brodie Hicks had a 26-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and finished with 74 yards rushing on five attempts.
Fyffe finished the night with 529 yards rushing to Oakman’s 2. The Red Devils amassed 555 yards of offense to Oakman’s 298 yards.
Fyffe 42, Walter Wellborn 13: Ike Rowell rushed for four touchdowns and threw for two more as the Fyffe Red Devils routed the Walter Wellborn Panthers 42-13 in the second round of the Class 3A state playoffs at Paul Benefield Stadium on Nov. 13.
The Red Devils (12-0) extended their program-record winning streak to 42 games, including 48 in a row on their home turf, and advanced to the state quarterfinal round.
Rowell ran for two first-half scores and passed for two more to help the Red Devils take a 28-7 halftime advantage.
Fyffe scored on all four first-half possessions, beginning with an 8-yard Rowell touchdown run up the middle with 8 minutes left in the opening quarter. The ensuing extra-point kick attempt failed.
The Panthers (9-2) burned two of their three first-half timeouts in a row while deciding whether or not to attempt a fourth-down conversion near midfield at the 5-minute mark in the quarter. Head coach Jeff Smith opted to punt.
Fyffe got the Panthers’ defense to bite on a fake handoff on its next possession and turned it into points.
From the Wellborn 28-yard line, Rowell faked a handoff to the right and kept it in a run to the left. He was all alone on the left side of the field before Wellborn’s defenders could close in.
Rowell escaped the nearest defender near the Fyffe 40 and continued for a 72-yard score. He kept the ball and found the end zone on the following 2-point conversion attempt, making it 14-0 with 4 minutes remaining in the first period.
A 15-yard scoring pass from Rowell to Brody Dalton capped the Red Devils’ next possession midway through the second quarter to push the lead to 21-0.
Calvin Spinks took a handoff on a sweeping run to the right for a 3-yard Panthers score with 1:15 to play in the half, before Fyffe closed the half with Rowell tossing a 33-yard scoring pass to Justin Stiefel with 35 seconds left.
Fyffe recovered the opening kickoff of the second half near Wellborn’s 20 and Rowell ran for a 6-yard touchdown and a 35-7 lead.
Rowell scored his fourth rushing touchdown and sixth overall with a 4-yard keeper at the 10:17 mark in the fourth.
Ti’quan Thomas’ 1-yard scoring dive with 2:27 remaining in regulation gave Wellborn its final score. Fyffe’s Will Stephens blocked the ensuing extra-point kick attempt.
Rowell rushed for 162 yards on 18 carries as Fyffe finished with 332 yards rushing and 380 yards of total offense.
Wellborn’s Jett Smith carried 14 times for 146 yards. The Panthers gained 272 yards of offense, all from their run game.
Fyffe 26, Ohatchee 7: Ike Rowell rushed for three touchdowns and passed for another as the Fyffe Red Devils downed the Ohatchee Indians 26-7 in the third round of the Class 3A state playoffs in Ohatchee on Nov. 20.
Fyffe (13-0) improved its program-record winning streak to 43 games with 13 consecutive state postseason victories in its quest for a third straight state championship and first since advancing to 3A.
Ohatchee (11-2) closed its season with its first state quarterfinal appearance since 2018.
The Red Devils pulled ahead 19-0 at the 8:35 mark in the third quarter when Rowell connected with Justin Stiefel for an 8-yard touchdown.
Rowell rolled to the left and hit Stiefel on target near the pylon. Brody Dalton added an extra-point kick.
Eli Ennis escaped a tackle in Ohatchee’s backfield and weaved through Fyffe’s defense to get his team’s offense across midfield for the first time of the night with 5:22 left in the third.
The Indians used short gains to reach the Fyffe 1, where Ennis ran left and dove across the goal line on fourth-and-1 with 39 seconds remaining in the period. An extra-point kick made it 19-7.
Rowell dove for a 2-yard score, his third rushing score of the game, to extend the Red Devils’ lead to 26-7 with 6:56 left in regulation following a Dalton kick.
Rowell rushed for two first-half touchdowns to help Fyffe take a 12-0 halftime advantage.
After playing to a scoreless first quarter, the Red Devils used five plays to cover 62 yards and take a 6-0 lead.
On a first-and-10 play from Ohatchee’s 32-yard line, Rowell rolled out of the pocket toward the right sideline and launched a 29-yard pass to Dalton.
Two plays later, Rowell kept the ball and rushed for a 2-yard score with 9:01 remaining in the half. Dalton’s ensuing extra-point kick fell short.
Ennis kept an Indians drive alive midway through the quarter when he plunged ahead for a 1-yard run on fourth-and-1 from the team’s 39-yard line. The success was short-lived however, as Fyffe’s defense forced a fourth straight punt at the 4:35 mark.
The Red Devils struck again quickly on their ensuing possession.
Rowell faked a handoff on the first snap and, as the line of scrimmage opened, took off up the middle before cutting left and outrunning Ohatchee’s defensive backs down the left sideline for an 86-yard score.
Fyffe’s 2-point conversion run attempt with Rowell failed and the score remained 12-0 with 4:09 left in the half.
Stiefel made a 50-yard punt after Fyffe’s offense was stuffed on its own 47 with 1:27 to play, and defense prevented Ohatchee from threatening before the break.
Fyffe 14, Piedmont 6: In an old-fashioned, grind-it-out state semifinal game in the rain, the defending Class 3A champs made too many mistakes against the Fyffe Red Devils.
Fyffe’s defense forced five turnovers, including three interceptions in the third quarter, to eliminate the reigning 3A champion Piedmont Bulldogs 14-6 and advance to a third straight state final at Paul Benefield Stadium last Friday night.
The Red Devils (14-0), a No. 1 seed from Region 7, will play Montgomery Catholic, a No. 1 seed from Region 4, for the 3A title in the AHSAA’s Super 7 state football championships at Bryant-Denny Stadium on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa on Thursday. Kickoff for the state final is scheduled for 10 a.m.
Montgomery Catholic defeated Montgomery Academy 35-28 in overtime after a long weather delay in the other 3A semifinal game last Friday night.
The state semifinal win pushed Fyffe’s program-record winning streak to 44 games and 14 consecutive postseason victories.
Ike Rowell plunged for a 2-yard touchdown at the 6:44 mark in the first quarter to give the Red Devils a 7-0 lead.
After Aaron Hayes ran for a 3-yard score with 4:30 left in the first quarter, Rowell preserved Fyffe’s lead by blocking the ensuing extra-point kick attempt.
Brody Dalton strip-sacked Hayes with 4 seconds left in the half and the Red Devils downed the ball to begin intermission.
Fyffe’s defense was the game-changer in the second half after rain settled in at halftime and created sloppy conditions.
Rowell intercepted a long Hayes pass on the Bulldogs’ opening possession, setting up Fyffe on Piedmont’s 38-yard line with 6:30 left in the third.
With 2:47 remaining in the period, Kyle Dukes picked off Hayes and returned the ball 27 yards for a touchdown to extend Fyffe’s advantage to 14-6. The Red Devils’ defense pressured Hayes and he got rid of the ball as he was being tackled.
Justin Stiefel recorded the Red Devils’ third interception of the quarter at Fyffe’s 48 with less than 2 minutes remaining.
Ty Bell recovered Piedmont’s fourth fumble of the night in the final period and the Bulldogs were eliminated after failing to score on three trips inside Fyffe’s 25-yard line.
Piedmont, a No. 1 seed from Region 5, finished 12-2 after making its sixth straight state semifinal appearance.
Will Gaines, special to The Times-Journal, contributed to this report.