By Brandon Shields
For The North Jefferson News
FAIRVIEW — It was a matchup for Fairview to take a step closer to the playoffs and Corner to try to make a late-season statement.
It looked in the first half as if Corner would make that statement, but Fairview responded to shut down the Yellow Jackets’ offense in the second half and come away with a 41-20 win.
The Aggies had a hard time getting started as passes from quarterback Trett Hardman had a hard time finding their mark in the receivers’ hands and the running game could not find a seam to consistently move down field.
“We just weren’t playing focused football early on,” said Fairview head coach George Redding. “I think some of it had to do with the fact that this was homecoming, and they might have been thinking about other things.
“The passing game was a few passes that were off, but there were also a few passes that were dropped that should have been caught.”
Meanwhile, Corner was consistently moving the ball behind the running of Casey Marcrum and Brett Gurley and the passing of quarterback Zack Price.
Corner had 244 yards of offense at intermission.
However, Fairview changed its style of play and was able to hold the Yellow Jackets to 64 yards and four first downs in the second half.
“We didn’t really make any adjustments,” said Aggies defensive coordinator Matt Black. “We just challenged them at halftime to play harder and with focus because they were in a million other places in the first half besides in this game.
“They were able to play better and get to their backs and not give their quarterback enough time to make a good throw.”
Two players that stepped up in the third quarter for Fairview to help the Aggies hold on to a narrow lead in a battle of field position were punter Zach Smith and defensive back Slayde Guess.
Smith punted the ball twice inside the Corner 5-yard line and Guess made an interception deep in Corner’s territory right after Smith’s second close punt.
“Zach may be the best punter in the state of Alabama,” Redding said. “He really helped us out then Slayde’s interception really helped us with a short field when the offense was struggling.”
The Aggies would take a 28-17 lead a couple of minutes later on a 1-yard run by Hardman early in the fourth. Josh Millwood led Fairview with 173 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. Marcrum led the Yellow Jackets with 85 yards on 14 carries.
Millwood got the scoring started early in the first with a 26-yard run and Casey Kelley connected on the point-after before Corner took the lead after a 2-yard run from Devin Cuda and a 37-yard connection from Zack Price to Brett Gurley. The Aggies then responded when Millwood ran 39 yards for another score to tie it up at 14 about midway through the second quarter.
Katelyn Geddings then gave Corner the 3-point lead just before the half with a 25-yard field goal.
Hardman found Zach Smith early in the third to give the Aggies the 20-17 lead, and they pulled away inn the fourth with a 1-yard run from Hardman and a 10-yard run from Millwood. After Hardman’s run, the Aggies converted a 2-point attempt on a fake field goal when Hardman found Zeb Watson all alone on the left side of the endzone for the score.
Corner showed some life late in the fourth with a 27-yard field goal from Geddings, but Fairview scored the final points when Lukas Hagood found the goalline from 2 yards out.
By Brandon Shields