The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for Fairview’s football team.
The Aggies (12-1) knocked off Fairfield, beat No. 9 Russellville to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1994 and then took down No. 7 Parker to punch their ticket to the semifinals for the first time in program history.
Fairview, though, isn’t resting on those laurels. Not with what’s ahead and not with what’s at stake.
As the Purple and Gold prepares to travel to No. 2 Pleasant Grove (11-1) this Friday night — a spot in the Class 5A championship game on the line — the focus has most definitely been on the here and now.
“You don’t have a whole lot of time to sit and think about it (what we’ve accomplished), because you’ve got to move on,” Fairview coach George Redding said. “But it’s been an honor and a blessing. Our kids are excited. All the well wishes we’ve gotten from the community have been great.”
Eli Frost and Parker Martin echoed those sentiments.
“We’re grateful after every game,” Frost said. “But when Monday has rolled around, we’ve all been ready to practice. You’ve got to focus on what’s ahead.”
Added Martin: “We’ve enjoyed this, and we realize what we’ve done. But we’ve tried not to stay on it too long. We want another win. We want to try to keep going. We’ve been blessed to be in this position for sure. But again, we’re not done. We want to do more.”
The Aggies will have an opportunity to accomplish just that when they travel to Spartan Stadium to face Pleasant Grove, which has finished as the Class 5A runner-up each of the past two seasons.
The Spartans defeated Douglas (55-0), No. 6 Leeds (35-0) and Center Point (49-21) on their way to the semifinals. They also bested Fairfield (27-25), No. 7 Parker (42-28) and No. 8 Central-Clay County (35-3) during the regular season, and their lone *defeat* came after having to forfeit a 61-24 victory over Oxford in Week 1 due to an ineligible player.
Quarterback Alex Young, running back Demarcus Lacey, wide receivers Cam Harris and Tadarius Parker, and offensive lineman Anez Cooper spearhead an explosive offense averaging 44.7 points per game.
Young has completed 110-of-170 passes for 2,087 yards, 30 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
Lacey, a 3-star recruit, has tallied 1,770 yards and 23 touchdowns on 139 carries this season, while Harris (32 receptions for 704 yards and 12 touchdowns) and Parker (26 receptions for 603 yards and eight touchdowns) have been top targets for Young. Cooper, a 3-star recruit with SEC offers, anchors the line at 6-foot-6.
“An outstanding, dynamic team,” Redding said of the Spartans. “Lots of speed and playmakers at multiple positions. Physical on defense. A really good football team that checks all the boxes.”
The Aggies have beaten three really good football teams so far in the playoffs, and they’ll need to do it again on Friday night if they want to advance.
“They’re a heck of a team; we know that,” Martin said. “But we’re going to go into it like we have every game — focused on us.”
Fairview enters this contest having already achieved so much this season.
The 12 wins are a school record. So, too, are the 567 points scored — and counting.
The legacy this team — and this senior class — will leave behind is immeasurable in its value.
But the Aggies aren’t done yet.
A win over Pleasant Grove would send them to UAB’s Protective Stadium next week, where they’d play Andalusia or No. 1 Pike Road for a state championship.
And wouldn’t that be something?
“It gives me butterflies just thinking about it,” Ethan Bice said. “It’s crazy. It’s unreal. We’ve just gone out and played ball and tried not worry about anything else. But my Lord; that would be amazing.”