Trying to shed a tackle

Fyffe quarterback Hunter Gillilan tries to stiff-arm Geraldine defender Bo Harper during Friday night’s game. The Red Devils won, extending their school-record winning streak to 38 games.

FYFFE — The Fyffe football team’s first season in Class 3A produced a region championship, the same result it enjoyed so many times in 2A under legendary head coach Paul Benefield.

The top-ranked Red Devils rolled to a 30-0 halftime advantage on their way to a 51-7 whipping of Geraldine in Friday night’s 3A, Region 7 matchup at Paul Benefield Stadium/Ridgeway-Long Field.

Fyffe improved to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the region standings by winning their 56th consecutive regular season game, which tied Prattville’s state record. It was Fyffe’s 38th straight region victory.

Benefield picked up the 305th win of his incredible career. His team has won 45 in a row on its home field.

“I’m just mighty proud of our consistency — the winning streak in the regular season and the five region championships in a row,” Benefield said.

“A lot of talk about moving up to 3A, but you know, it’s the same people we’ve been playing. The kids have stepped up.

“There’s three All-State players that’s been hurt. We got Caleb [Lyles] back tonight, but he’s about 80 percent. Ike [Rowell] and Eli [Benefield] are going to be out probably until the playoffs.

“Records are made to be broken and they’re records for a reason, but if you win 56 straight regular season games, you’re doing something right and the kids are working hard and being committed to what they’re doing. It takes being good and luck to.”

The Red Devils rolled up 508 yards total offense, including 454 yards rushing. Hunter Gillilan paced Fyffe with 129 yards on 12 carries, all in the first half. He completed 2-of-4 passes for 54 yards.

“We’ve got an eighth-grader in there playing tackle for Caleb, Tucker Wilks, who just played like a man,” Benefield said. “We don’t make no excuses for him.

“Ty Bell hasn’t come off the field since Eli’s been hurt. He’s having to play offense too.

“Hunter, I’m real proud of him. People telling you how good you are already, and you just need to keep a level head and work hard every week and get better.”

Gillilan engineered a scoring drive on the game’s opening series. He capped it with a 7-yard touchdown run at the 7:21 mark of the first quarter.

Fyffe’s Kyle Dukes picked off a pass on Geraldine’s first offensive snap. The Red Devils converted the opportunity when Gillilan threw a 19-yard TD pass to Malichi Mize. Brody Dalton’s extra point made it 14-0.

The Red Devils marched 94 yards in 11 plays to extend their lead to 21-0.

Gillilan punctuated the drive with an 11-yard TD run.

Dukes found the end zone on a 9-yard run, increasing Fyffe’s cushion to 27-0. Dalton kicked a 20-yard field goal with 2.4 seconds left in the second period to make it 30-0.

Mize picked up his second TD of the night with a tackle-breaking 33-yard run at the 9:32 mark of the third quarter. Dalton kicked it to 37-0.

Geraldine drove 65 yards in 12 plays for its only touchdown. Anthony Baldwin scored on a 5-yard run with 3:24 remaining in the third. Jose Garcia added the point-after.

Brodie Hicks rushed 8 and 48 yards for Fyffe touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Baldwin’s 42 yards rushing topped Geraldine. Troy Willoughby added 32.

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