By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
Fairview became Oneonta’s latest victim Friday night at home, falling 59-21 to Class 4A’s top-ranked team.
The Redskins (7-0, 5-0 in Class 4A, Region 6) were cutthroat from start to finish, taking advantage of four Luke Bailey interceptions, passing with ease and running just as effectively to dispatch the Aggies (5-2, 3-2).
“They just do all the little things you’ve got to do to be a great team,” Fairview coach George Redding said of Oneonta. “They do everything right. They don’t hurt themselves. They’re well coached. They’re a great program.”
Alvin Scott had the first two picks, returning the earliest one 40 yards to start the scoring for the Redskins. The speedster also caught six passes for 103 yards, including touchdowns from 21 and 20 yards.
That performance was bested only by Jalen Johnson, his teammate, who had the same number of receptions and touchdowns but racked up 139 yards.
Of course, neither wide receiver could’ve done any damage without a quarterback to throw them the ball.
That’s where Oneonta’s Cody O’Toole came in.
O’Toole put on a clinic, completing 18 of 25 passes for 310 yards and the four scores.
The Redskins’ last big contributor was Tyler Smith. The elusive running back carried the ball only 12 times but piled on 115 yards, scoring on runs of 4 and 1 yards.
Tyler Short added a 23-yard field goal, Caleb Hunt found the end zone on a 6-yard scamper in the fourth quarter and Garrison Latta had Oneonta’s other interception in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.
With the Aggies down 38-0 shortly before halftime, Ethan Widner put the Purple and Gold’s first points on the scoreboard with a wide-open 14-yard catch. Bailey then connected with Jake Chandler on scoring passes of 3 and 13 yards in the third and fourth quarters to account for the last of Fairview’s points.
Chandler had quite the busy second half, roping in six catches for 101 yards and the two scores, adding to the 25-yard reception he had in the first half.
Freshman Bailey Strong made the most of his playing time with the game already out of hand, hauling in three catches for 31 yards. Widner, Bryant Powers, Marco Rodriguez and Trent Shoemaker all had three receptions apiece.
Bailey’s final stat-line looked fairly decent — 22 of 42 for 290 yards and the three touchdowns — but his uncharacteristic total of four interceptions was just too much to overcome.
“He’s got a short memory,” Redding said of his signal-caller. “He moves on to the next play, and I think you’ve got to.”
The coach isn’t going to let one bad night shake the confidence he has in Bailey moving forward.
“Listen, the kind of kid No. 7 is, you put it in his hands every time you get a chance to,” Redding said. “I have no problems with that.”
Jake Roberts added a sack, and Tyler Echols fell on a fumble, both in the fourth quarter.
Fairview has no time to stew over the loss with a vital region game on the road versus Sardis looming next week. The Lions defeated St. Clair County 48-40 on Friday night.
“We’re going to move right along,” Redding said. “You’ve got to.”
With Oneonta and Sardis sporting 5-0 records in region play and the Aggies and Fighting Saints both at 3-2, a win against the Lions would go miles toward helping Fairview secure a postseason berth.
Guntersville is lurking in fifth at 2-3 after a win on Friday night. Oneonta and Sardis will meet in Week 9.
“The next couple of weeks are going to be huge,” Redding said. “We’ve got to keep fighting and find a way to get ourselves in the playoffs.”
‰ Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at email@example.com.