By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
Fairview’s hands will be full Friday night as it prepares to take on Oneonta in a Class 4A, Region 6 matchup that will have huge implications for the Aggies down the road.
A win against the top-ranked Redskins (6-0, 4-0) could vault Fairview (5-1, 3-1) into a three-way tie for first place in the region, greatly improving not only their playoff chances, but their likelihood of earning home-field advantage for a first-round game in the coming weeks.
“We are excited about the opportunity to host a team like Oneonta,” coach George Redding said. “They’re one of the best teams in the state, and we are looking forward to the challenge.”
And a challenge it will be for the Aggies, who are 0-9 lifetime against the Redskins with their last meeting coming in 2007.
Oneonta enters Friday night’s contest sporting an undefeated record and one of the most explosive offenses in the region, putting up an average of almost 44 points per game.
Just last week, the Redskins trounced Douglas 63-8 in a lopsided affair where three different Oneonta quarterbacks combined on seven touchdown passes. Starter Cody O’Toole tossed four touchdowns in the first half, backup Drew White threw two of his own in the third quarter and third-stringer Carter Sims contributed the last one in the final frame.
“They have a couple of outstanding wide receivers,” Redding said. “But they are also very good in their run game as well.”
The sixth-year head coach said the Redskins are likely the most well-balanced team they will play this year.
“They can attack you from a lot of different areas,” he said. “We are going to have to play sound, consistent football.”
Coaches and players alike are excited for the chance to play in meaningful games down the stretch.
“It’s a huge game for us,” senior Jake Roberts said. “We just have to do the little things right, play as a team and not lose our intensity.”
Senior running back Marco Rodriguez echoed his teammate’s thoughts.
“The No. 1 team is coming to our house, to our backyard,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a big-time game for sure.”
The two-way player added that “limiting Oneonta’s downs on offense,” will be the key to winning the game.
Fairview enters Friday night riding a three-game winning streak topped off by a 30-16 come-from-behind victory against St. Clair County last week.
The Aggies played a flawless second half of football after falling behind early, scoring 30 unanswered points to pull away from the Fighting Saints.
Senior Trent Shoemaker said he hoped last week’s early mistakes wouldn’t be a continuing trend heading into this week’s game.
“We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot with dumb plays and stupid penalties,” Shoemaker said. “When we do bad, it’s because we are causing it, nobody else.”
The next two weeks for Fairview will be important as they take on the region’s top two teams in the Redskins and Sardis. Both teams are 4-0 so far in region play.
A couple of wins would have the Aggies sitting pretty come playoff time.
“Our goal from day one has been to win the region,” Redding said. “What we do over the next two games will have a great effect on the remainder of our season and our goal.”
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 258 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.