MONTGOMERY (AHSAA) – Fyffe High School head football coach Paul Benefield admits there is any fancy about the Red Devils’ style of football. That is, unless, you fancy winning.
Benefield’s teams have done a lot of winning – more than any other high school in the AHSAA in this decade. Fyffe, playing in Class 3A for this season, handed their beloved coach a 49-20 win over DeKalb County rival Sylvania last Friday. The triumph was the 300th in his head coaching career, which is now in its 29th season.
That victory improved the Red Devils to 3-0 this season and earned their coach and team this week’s AHSAA Football Spotlight for Week 3 of the 2020 football season. Benefield and Fyffe have been setting tall standards for some time now. His career record is now 300-53, a state-leading an 85% winning rate. He is 255-42 at Fyffe in 24 seasons and was 46-18 at Sylvania his first five seasons from 1992-1996.
Since 2016, Fyffe has gone 60-1, won its last 33 games in a row and have three Class 2A state championships and a 17-1 playoff record. Win No. 300 came 28 years to the day after he posted his first victory. Victory No. 1 came on September 11, 1992 when Benefield, coaching at Sylvania, notched his first coaching victory with a 2-0 shutout over Ider. Turn the clock forward to September 11, 2020 and Fyffe beat his old team giving up the Red Devils’ first points of the season in the 49-20 win.
Benefield has proven time and time again his winning ways were no passing fancy. In fact, most years, his running backs score more rushing TDs than passes attempted. His teams
In Friday’s win, Ike Rowell had 12 carries for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Kyle Dukes and Brodie Hicks added two rushing TDs each.
Fyffe has compiled a 122-7 record since 2011 – outscoring opponents 5,502 points to 1,272 during that stretch. Last year’s team went 15-0 and outscored their opponents 639-43.
Benefield joins an elite class of 300 winners in the AHSAA. He becomes the fifth coach to win 300 games all in the AHSAA. The 300-club currently includes:
Buddy Anderson of Vestavia Hills, Terry Curtis of UMS-Wright, Danny Horn of Central-Clay, Jamie Riggs of Houston Academy, Waldon Tucker of Fayette County, Glenn Daniel of Luverne and Fred Yancey of Briarwood Christian. All but Daniel and Yancey are still coaching. Tucker had 25 of his 310 wins in Alabama outside the AHSAA, and Yancey posted 41 of his 319 wins at schools in other states. Anderson, 342-158, plans to retire after this season, his 43rd year at Vestavia Hills.
“It’s special. It really is,” Benefield told Sand Mountain Reporter sports editor Shannon Allen. “It’s something that I hope my family and all my kids that played for me will be proud of too. The Lord’s blessed me in lots of ways and put me where I need to be right here.”
The milestone win edged out one of the wildest finishes in AHSAA football history – Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa’s touchdown on the final play of the game to beat Wetumpka 34-30.
Hillcrest wins with Boise State Play: Coach Sam Adams’ Patriots ran the “Boise State play”, he said. The play started with 2.9 seconds left – just 11 seconds after Wetumpka’s Alex Londell kicked a 19-field goal to put the Indians ahead 30-28. The final play, which started as a swing pass from quarterback Ethan Crawford from Hillcrest’s 41-yard line, concluded with more than 10 laterals, at least four scrambles for the loose ball and Crawford finally getting the ball back in his hands. He dashed the final 35 yards for the winning score – concluding a play that took 59 seconds from start to finish and attracted national attention and more than 1.5 million hits on social media.
Adams said he got the idea from watching a similar finish by Boise State and practiced the play with his own players.