Defensive playmaker

Eli Benefield has contributed 52.5 tackles, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions for Fyffe’s defense, which has posted seven shutouts and is allowing only 2.3 points per game.

Top-ranked Fyffe launches its quest for back-to-back Class 2A state championships when it hosts Sheffield in the opening round of the state playoffs Friday night at 7 at Long-Ridgeway Stadium.

Fyffe is riding a 36-game winning streak on its home field.

The Red Devils won 2A state crowns in 2014, 2016 and 2018 and finished as the runner-up in 2007 and 2015. They lost in the state quarterfinals in 2017.

Fyffe hammered Sheffield 48-0 in the first round of the postseason in 2017, the only meeting between the squads. Sheffield (6-4) finished fourth in Region 7.

The Red Devils are making their 39th state playoff appearance, including their 19th ina row. They’ve reached the postseason in 22 of Paul Benefield’s 23 seasons as their head coach. Fyffe owns a 49-35 playoff record.

Benefield guided the Red Devils to a state record 14th 10-0 regular-season record, including four in a row. They’ve went 10-0 in seven of the last nine years.

Region 8 champion Fyffe has racked up seven shutouts, the most during Benefield’s tenure as head coach. The Red Devils have allowed 23 points, an average of 2.3 points per game.

Ty Bell leads Fyffe with 62.5 tackles. Eli Benefield has 52.5 stops, Malichi Mize 44, Brodie Hicks 39 and Will Stephens 35.

Ike Rowell, Zach Pyron and Benefield all have two interceptions. Rowell, Benefield and Justin Stiefel have each returned an interception for a touchdown.

Benefield has contributed two fumble recoveries.

Fyffe’s offense is averaging 43.1 points per game. Nine different players have a rushing touchdown for the Red Devils.

Rowell is Fyffe’s leading rusher with 894 yards on 89 carries. He’s scored 15 touchdowns.

Pyron has gained 568 yards on 83 attempts. He’s collected 14 touchdowns.

Brodie Hicks has 62 rushes for 387 yards and five TDs, and Mize has 26 carries for 266 yards and five scores. Kyle Dukes has gained 184 yards and scored five times.

Pyron is 16-of-27 passing for 380 yards and six touchdowns. Brody Dalton has five receptions for 155 yards and two TDs, and Mize has five catches for 122 yards and a score.

The Fyffe-Sheffield winner meets the Ranburne-Cold Springs winner in the second round.

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