Fort Payne downs region rival Arab for 1st win

Fort Payne’s Hunter Love (2) tries to stay on his feet as he jumps over an Arab defender during the first half of a region game in Arab on Friday night.

ARAB — Hunter Love ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns, Cam Thomas and J.D. Blalock added a rushing score apiece and Fort Payne’s defense held Arab scoreless in the first half en route to a 28-7 win in Arab on Friday night.

The Wildcats (1-2) picked up their first win of the season in their first outing of region play.

“You appreciate the wins more when you have a couple of losses, so I’m excited for our kids,” Wildcats coach Chris Elmore said.

The offensive line allowed Love to punctuate two first-half Fort Payne drives with rushing touchdowns to make it a 14-0 lead with 9:58 remaining in the first half.

Love rushed 25 times with his longest carry going for 30 yards before being brought down by Arab (1-2) defenders.

“In the second half, (the Knights) were basically daring us to do anything but hand it to Hunter,” Elmore said. “But even when they were doing that, we were still getting yardage and he was still being productive.”

The Wildcats’ defense stood tall and kept the Knights scoreless in the first half, as intermission hit with Fort Payne in command at 21-0.

“We got back to playing the tough, physical football we want to play,” Elmore said. “...Overall, I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage and that was probably the difference in the game, our defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage.”

Aidan Cox ran for a 6-yard score midway through the third to give the Knights their only points. Teammate Mathew Turnage finished with 100 yards rushing on 26 carries.

Thomas’ 88 yards rushing came from just two carries, including one that went for a 76-yard TD to cap the scoring at the 10:06 mark in the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats prevented Arab from cutting the deficit in the fourth with a pair of fourth-down defensive stops.

Will Abbott led Fort Payne’s defense with nine tackles.

The Wildcats play host to Springville for their second region contest next Friday night.

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