Fyffe 28, Elba 17
The Fyffe Red Devils rallied from a 9-0 first-half deficit Friday to beat Elba 28-17 to claim the 2014 Super 7 Class 2A state football championship at Auburn University’s Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The state championship is the first for Fyffe in the AHSAA’s 49-year state-playoff history. It also closed out the Red Devils’ first 15-0 season and improved Coach Paul Benefield’s personal head-coaching tally to 227-50 overall and 182-39 in 18 seasons at the DeKalb County school.
Elba (14-1), coached by Ed Rigby, took control early taking a 6-0 lead on Stefan Caldwell’s 1-yard run midway the first period. The Red Devils defense kept the Tigers out of the end zone early in the second quarter forcing Elba to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Caleb Martin.
Fyffe put together an eight-play, 76-yard march later in the period with Dilan Kilpatrick clawing through the tough Elba defense for a 9-yard TD run. Russell Moses’ kick made it 9-7 with 5:41 left in the half.
It was the Red Devils defense that came up with the big play again on Elba’s next possession. Forced to punt from its own 14-yard line, Christopher Collins slipped through to block the kick to give Fyffe the ball at the 18-yard line. Four plays later, quarterback William Mashburn bulled in for the touchdown from the 1 to give the Red Devils a 14-9 lead.
Blake Edwards returned the next kickoff 54 yards for Elba to the Fyffe 39. The Tigers advanced to the Red Devils’ 4-yard line before Fyffe’s defense stopped the drive on downs with three seconds remaining until intermission.
Running back Austin Stiefel opened the third quarter with a dazzling 63-yard touchdown run – breaking several tackles along the way to put Fyffe ahead 21-9. Stiefel, who had 74 rushing yards on nine carries in the first half, earned 2A Game MVP honors finishing with 170 yards on 14 rush attempts. The senior finished the season with 2,385 yards on 227 carries with 47 rushing touchdowns.
Ramsey Rigby tossed a 13-yard TD pass to Blake Edwards later in the quarter to cut the Red Devils lead to 21-17. Mashburn scored on a 1-yard sneak with 1:47 left to seal the win.
Elba totaled 296 yards on 70 offensive plays with Caldwell gaining 111 yards on 18 rushes. Rigby, who completed 10-of-22 passes for 73 yards, also rushed 12 times for 55 yards. Edwards caught five passes for 39 yards and a score.
Fyffe had just 43 total plays. Dilan Kilpatrick added 31 yards rushing to close out his season for Fyffe with 1,137 yards on 188 rush attempts. Mashburn was 4-of-6 passing for 81 yards with William Brown making a 33-yard catch and Dakota Newsome hauling in a 32-yard connection. Newsome also had 13 tackles, Ryan Martin had nine and Collins had seven. Brown also made an interception.
Michael Smith had seven tackles, Blake Edwards and Blake Johnson six each and Denel Thomas had five for Elba.
The Red Devils finished the season with 751 points, third best in AHSAA history behind Demopolis’ 761 points in 2004 and Elba’s 752 in 2011.
Fyffe also played in the state finals in 2007 and Elba won the state 2A title in 2011.