Thirteen teams lined up across from Fyffe this season, but none of them could get the best of the juggernaut Red Devils.
Armed with a program-record winning streak and two consecutive state championships, top-ranked Fyffe goes for a historic state championship three-peat against the Montgomery Catholic Knights in the Class 3A state title game in the AHSAA’s Super 7 football state championships at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa on Thursday. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m.
The Red Devils, a No.1 seed from Region 7, put their sparkling 14-0 record, 44-game win streak and 14 state postseason-game win streak on the line in pursuit of their first state championship since advancing to 3A. They won back-to-back 2A titles in 2018 and 2019, one in 2016 and another in 2014.
This week’s Super 7 appearance will be the sixth in seven seasons for Fyffe.
Fyffe forced five turnovers, including four during a sloppy second-half rain to defeat defending 3A champion Piedmont 14-6 in a 3A semifinal contest at Paul Benefield Stadium last Friday night.
As the Red Devils dug in with their tough brand of defense early, it was that same style of defense played in the second half that crushed Piedmont’s hopes for a return trip to the Super 7.
Ike Rowell, who scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown and blocked an extra-point kick attempt in the first half, intercepted a Piedmont pass in the third quarter as the rain settled in at Paul Benefield Stadium.
Additionally in the third, Kyle Dukes intercepted a pass and returned it for a 30-yard touchdown before Justin Stiefel picked off a third pass.
A deep punt from Stiefel set up the Bulldogs on their own 7-yard line to begin their final drive. They reached Fyffe’s 18 before a bad snap sent them 15 yards backward.
Ty Bell recovered a fumbled handoff for Fyffe inside the game’s final minute. Rowell punted with 5 seconds remaining and time ran out for Piedmont.
Fyffe finished the game turnover-free as the offense gained 128 yards against the defending champs.
As the Red Devils advanced to the state final by winning on their home turf for the 49th consecutive time, Montgomery Catholic (12-2) endured a 75-minute delay due to lightning that accompanied a steady downpour prior to kickoff to edge Montgomery Academy 35-28 in overtime in the other 3A semifinal game last Friday night.
The Knights used a pair of Jeremiah Cobb scoring runs to reach the end zone in the extra period to advance to the 3A state championship for the first time in program history.
Caleb McCreary found Cobb on a route out of the backfield for a 51-yard touchdown connection with 2:30 remaining in regulation to tie the game and force overtime. Catholic linebacker Pat Ryan intercepted a fourth-down pass in overtime to secure the win.
The Knights are ranked ninth in 3A and are a No. 1 seed from Region 4. They avenged one of their losses by defeating Montgomery Academy last week; Montgomery Academy won the previous meeting 32-21 on Sept. 25. The Knights’ other loss was a 63-34 defeat vs. Class 5A’s Pike Road in the season opener.
Aubrey Blackwell has led Montgomery Catholic to a 54-18 overall record in six seasons as head coach. The Knights have gone 8-4 in postseason games and 29-9 in region contests during that span.
The Knights’ 2020 postseason run has included wins against Bayside Academy (52-21), Opp (38-0), and Thomasville (25-15).
Montgomery Catholic finished 12-1 last season with a third-round postseason loss at UMS-Wright in the 4A state playoffs. The Knights moved from 4A to 3A last offseason and will clash with Fyffe for the first time in program history Thursday.