Fyffe's ‘antique’ offense still a force in Class 2A football

Fyffe quarterback Zach Pyron (5) flips the ball to an official after scoring a touchdown against Reeltown during the first half of the AHSAA Class 2A state championship game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn on Friday.

AUBURN — Fyffe coach Paul Benefield jokingly calls the Red Devils’ offense “antique.”

With spread offenses being the popular trend, the run-oriented, hybrid Wing-T offense is rare in the spectrum of high school football, but there are programs still using it. 

Perhaps none better in Alabama than Fyffe.

“We spent so much time working and getting stronger, and about 6 years ago I stumbled into it,” Benefield said of the offense. “It’s a little like a basketball team that freezes the ball with execution and discipline.”

The Red Devils (15-0) continued proving their offense that thrives on good blocking and misdirection is still a force in Class 2A. They finished with 325 yards — all but 20 from the run game —on 55 plays to just 51 total yards for Reeltown (13-2) in a 56-7 win in the Class 2A state championship at Jordan-Hare Stadium on Friday.

Fyffe’s offense was on the field for long stretches, chewing up 30:14 in time of possession to the Rebels’ 17:46. The Red Devils also converted 9 of 13 third-down attempts and was 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Zach Pyron, the game’s MVP, rushed 27 times for 171 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 6 yards per carry. Ike Rowell rushed for 125 yards on 18 attempts with a TD and a 6 yards-per-carry average. 

Pyron attempted just two passes, one connecting with Brody Dalton for a 20-yard score to give Fyffe a 14-0 lead with 8:36 remaining in the first quarter.

“Their offense isn't something you see every day,” Reeltown coach Matt Johnson said. “It's tough to defend, too. They have big, fast, strong kids.”

Fyffe’s offense averaged 42 points per game, spurred by its offensive line’s ability to create space, the strength and speed of its runners and its variety of run plays.

Benefield said the key to the offense’s success has been the way the players have committed themselves to its delivery.

“These kids all bought in,” the coach said. “I knew we were going to have the execution, discipline and work to run it. It’s an unusual offense that some teams don't see but once a year.”

Fyffe’s offense cause problems for the Rebels early and often in the state title game. Pyron carried the ball five times on the Red Devils’ opening drive, capping it with a 38-yard scoring run. 

Reeltown fumbled on its first possession and Fyffe recovered it on the Rebels’ 27-yard line. Rowell ran for a 7-yard gain, before Pyron found Dalton for a 20-yard score.

A fumble on the Rebels’ next possession led to another score for the Red Devils. After Reeltown punted on its third drive, Fyffe traveled 48 yards in nine plays, finished off by a 3-yard scoring run from Pyron to make it 28-0 with 40 seconds left to play in the opening quarter.

“It was obvious that they were more comfortable than we were. They’ve been in this setting,” Johnson said of the Red Devils. “That’s part of the next step, getting comfortable being here. Absolutely, at the moment I think it got big for us early. Once we settled down, we played a better second half, especially defensively.”

Reeltown did keep Fyffe out of the end zone in the third, but surrendered two more scores in the fourth without an offensive response.

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