Fairhope 28, Foley 23

Lions rally but fall short of erasing Pirate lead in Blue-Gold rivalry

Patrick Herring, GCM Sports
Posted 9/3/17

The Blue-Gold game between Foley and Fairhope continues to be one of the best rivalries in Coastal Alabama football after the Pirates held on for a 28-23 victory Friday

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Fairhope 28, Foley 23

Lions rally but fall short of erasing Pirate lead in Blue-Gold rivalry

Posted

FAIRHOPE, Ala. — The Blue-Gold game between Foley High and Fairhope High continues to be one of the best rivalries in Coastal Alabama football after the Pirates held on for a 28-23 victory Friday night. The two programs have split the series evenly over the last sixteen seasons, with the point differential over that period being 419-391 in favor of the Lions. Talk about two programs who always seem to be evenly matched.

Friday night's game didn't appear to be a fair fight when the Pirates jumped out to a 21-3 lead before halftime. Quarterback Devin Mitchell was hitting on all cylinders, finding his targets all over the field on the game's opening drive. He racked up 250 yards of offense and two touchdowns on the night. On this drive, however, fullback Michael Colclasure capped off the series with a 6-yard touchdown run.

When the Pirates got the ball back, Mitchell went back to work with a short field. This time he would use his legs to find the end zone from 4 yards out to extend the lead to 14-0.

The Lion offense finally showed signs life when quarterback Garrett Mayo began finding his targets downfield. After opening the game (2-of-8) for six yards, he connected on gains of 28 and 19 to Dalton Gideons and Christian Blackwell, respectively. The drive would stall, but the Lions got on the board with a 35-yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-3.

With just under four minutes remaining in the first half, Mitchell didn't miss a beat. The gunslinger connected with C.J. Edwards for a 23-yard touchdown to push the lead to 21-3. Edwards finished with 97 yards and the score on just six catches.

Mayo and the Lion offense weren't phased as they came out to run the two-minute drill. The senior found receivers for gains of 13, 32 and 28 to set up the Lions deep in Pirate territory. Running back Chris Armstrong bullied his way into the endzone from one yard out to trim the Pirate lead to 21-10 going into halftime.

Early in the third, Mayo kept connecting on deep patterns to set up great field position. Armstrong found a crease for an 11-yard touchdown on the Lions' opening drive of the quarter to quiet the crowd and reduce the lead to 21-17.

The Pirate offense was held scoreless in the penultimate quarter, but wouldn't be shut out in the second half. Backup quarterback Brett Howell came in on a fourth and inches from the Lion 12 and rushed for a touchdown to give Fairhope the 28-17 lead.

Mayo kept his composure and came out slinging once again. He completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Macauley McNair on fourth and 20 to pull the Lions to within five points. The two-point attempt failed, which would prove to be crucial as it left the score at 28-23, meaning the Lions would need a stop and a touchdown to win.

With little time left on the clock, the Pirates should've been content to let the clock run down, but for some reason the coaches called a pass on third down. Mitchell was intercepted and the Lion offense was back in business.

Mayo completed six of his first seven attempts on the game's final drive, but missed on his final four throws to end the Lion's comeback attempt with a turnover on downs at the Pirate 20 with just six seconds left.

The Foley quarterback had a huge night throwing the ball, racking up 339 yards and one touchdown on 21 of 41 passing. Three Lion receivers had more than 75 yards. The Lion faithful hope the offense continues improving as the season progresses.

Both teams now sit at 1-1 early in the season. The Pirates begin a month-long road slate as they won't play another contest at home until Oct. 6. This week, they go on the road to play Mary G. Montgomery (0-2).

Foley will play their first game at Ivan Jones Stadium when they host Davidson (0-2) Friday (Sept. 8) night at 7 p.m.