The Fairview Aggies travelled to Randolph Friday night to take on one of the most high-powered offenses in the state, but despite running back Carson Jones career night the Aggies were unable to keep up as they fell 34-14. With injuries sidelining several players Fairview (7-3) gained valuable experience before heading into next weeks 5A playoffs.
The Aggies received the opening kickoff and was able to move the ball but the drive stalled after crossing mid-field. Kolt Redding a few plays later picked it off at the Fairview 35 yard line off a tipped ball and returned it 30 yards to the Randolph 35. Unfortunately, a couple plays later the Aggies turned it over on a fumble and Randolph went right back to work. This time the drive would be finished with a 13 yard touchdown by the Raider’s Nick Strong.
After another Fairview turnover, this time an interception, Strong took a short pass 47 yards to the house for a touchdown. With 11:38 to go in the second quarter, down 14-0, the Fairview offense turned to Jones for “3 yards and a cloud of dust.” The Aggies ate up over 8 minutes of clock as Jones totaled 77 yards on the drive, capped off by a 1 yard touchdown run.
With under three minutes to go Randolph was able to extend their lead to 21-7 after another Strong touchdown reception. Coming out of the half, the Fairview defense forced a turnover on downs, but after several questionable referee flags the ensuing Aggie drive stalled. Randolph would turn around and score once more, this time by the Andrew Hunter 37 yard quarterback keeper.
Another grind it out drive by Fairview, capped off again by Jones, made it 28-14 earlier in the fourth, but the Raiders would respond quickly with the final touchdown of the game a few plays later making the final 34-14.
Jones would finish with 220 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries, in place of star running back Eli Frost. Jake Harper came in the fourth and added 72 yards on just 7 carries. Redding lead the team with 5 tackles to go along with his first quarter pick.
Despite the loss Fairview had a lot of youth in tonight that gained a lot of experience with the playoffs now upon us. Coach Redding spoke with us after the game, “We talk all the time about development. Your #1 is only your #1 for a short time. At some point they graduate, get injured, something. So you constantly have to be developing the #2 and #3. Tonight we had a lot of those guys playing, they did some great things.”
Fairview will now turned their attention to next week as they host the first round of the 5A playoffs. They return home to take on an old rival, the Guntersville Wildcats (8-2). Coach Redding added on next week’s game, “We know them well. They’re going to be tough and physical, and we are going to have to match that physicality. It’s always an honor to be in the playoffs, especially at home so we are looking forward to the opportunity.”