Lee 28, Fairhope 7

Generals blitz No. 7 Pirates in first round of 7A playoffs

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 11/15/17

FAIRHOPE, Alabama — The Generals of Robert E. Lee High from Montgomery launched both a ground and aerial assault, ending the No. 7 ranked Fairhope Pirates 2017 campaign with a 28-7 victory in the …

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Lee 28, Fairhope 7

Generals blitz No. 7 Pirates in first round of 7A playoffs

Posted

FAIRHOPE, Alabama — The Generals of Robert E. Lee High from Montgomery launched both a ground and aerial assault, ending the No. 7 ranked Fairhope Pirates 2017 campaign with a 28-7 victory in the first round of the 7A playoffs Friday night on W.C. Majors field at Fairhope Municipal Stadium.

After the two teams traded scores to finish the first half knotted at 7 apiece, the Generals scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to improve to 7-3 on the season, handing the Pirates just their third loss, but one that put a cap on what had been a complete turnaround for Fairhope from a 3-7 campaign a year ago.

The two teams started the contest with defensive stops with the Pirates allowing just five offensive yards from the Generals following an 82-yard return down to the Fairhope 13-yard line on the opening kickoff.

A missed 25-yard fieldgoal left the score 0-0 with 10:32 to play in the opening period.

But the Generals would end up striking first when Devin Mitchell’s pass was picked off on the Pirates’ third offensive play of the game and returned to the Lee 48-yard line, where the Generals would march 52 yards in 11 plays, in spite of three penalties for 25 yards (Lee would end the contest with 19 infractions for 150 yards).

The Montgomery visitors would cap the drive with an eight-yard pass play on third down, taking a 7-0 lead with 4:45 to go in the opening period.

Fairhope would strike right back, going 76 yards in 10 plays with Mitchell taking much of the load, running three times for 36 yards (he would finish the contest with 16 carries for 103 yards, despite being sacked three times for minus-41 yards) and completed a 12-yard pass to Darnell Bell.

Defensive standout Brett Howell would come into the game on offense to cap the drive, running twice from the Wildcat formation, including a two-yard run to hit pay dirt on the first play of the second quarter. Cole Deeds drilled the extra point to knot the score at 7-7 with 11:55 to go in the half.

The rest of the half was a defensive struggle with both teams trading punts. Fairhope got one final chance to score before the half when Jordan Williams picked off a Lee pass to give the Pirates the ball at their own 5.

Bell took the opening snap for 10 yards and a first down at the 15, then Mitchell ran three times for 68 yards to get the Pirates close at the Lee 27-yard line, but Mitchell had to fall on an errant snap for a loss of 13 yards, putting Fairhope out of Deeds’ fieldgoal range to end the first half.

But the Generals took charge in the second half, scoring on a 54-yard pass play to start the second half, then scored again after the two teams traded turnovers, including a fumble recovery by the Pirates and a pair of interceptions by the Generals.

Lee scored from a yard out with 7.4 seconds remaining in the third quarter, then put a cap on the game with 8:10 left in the contest to secure the victory.

The contest was fairly even in the first half with the Pirates outgaining the Generals 176 to 153, but the Lee shut down the Pirates in the second half, allowing only 34 yards of total offense, including only 10 rushing yards.

Mitchell completed just six of 21 passes and was intercepted three times in the contest for just 34 yards passing to add to his 103 yards rushing, but he had just one rush in the second half, a 17-yard loss on a fumble recovery.

The Generals meanwhile capped the night with 266 total yards in the second half to finish the contest with 419 total yards. Senior quarterback Kaniaus Johnson was 11 of 16 on the night for 110 yards and one interception, tacking on 89 yards on 14 carries. Junior running back Claderius Pickett rushed for 99 yards on 15 carries to lead the Generals’ ground attack (45 rushes for 309 yards total). Tedarrian Murray added 85 yards on seven carries before a vicious hit late in the contest literally knocked the junior running back/defensive back out of the game.

The Pirates finished their season at 8-3 while the Generals, now 7-3 move on to face top ranked Central-Phenix City (10-0, who ousted the Region 1 fourth seed Theodore Friday night 42-13.