FYFFE — 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 on 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 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.