Landon Grider

Landon Grider and Scottsboro close their 2021 season on the road against the Fyffe Red Devils.

The program the Scottsboro football team faces for its season finale is the kind that first-year Wildcats head coach Cris Bell wants Scottsboro to become.

The Wildcats travel to take on the Fyffe Red Devils Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Paul Benefield Stadium

Fyffe (7-1) is regarded as one of the state’s top programs regardless of classifications, having won five state championships since 2014 (four in Class 2A and one in 3A) and three in the past three seasons. The Red Devils, ranked No. 3 in 3A, held the nation’s longest winning streak at 51 games up until a 20-19 loss at Geraldine two weeks ago.

Fyffe still has a long home winning streak, having won 52 straight games at Paul Benefield Stadium, which his named for their head coach who has gone 274-43 since taking over at his alma mater in 1997 and has 319 wins for his career. The Red Devils’ last loss on their home field was against Cleveland in Week 2 of the 2015 season.

“Fyffe is one of the top programs in the state and that’s where we want to get to,” Bell said. “From our perspective, it’s a chance to show what we can do against one of those top programs because we want to be a program that can compete with anyone, anytime.”

Thursday’s game is the first on-field meeting between the teams. Fyffe officially leads the series 1-0 because Scottsboro had to forfeit the teams’ scheduled 2020 meeting due to COVID-19 issues.

Scottsboro (3-6) enters the contest riding high after posting two straight wins over Southside and Pell City.

Bell said the Wildcats’ confidence was boosted by the wins but said the team’s improvement was evident before then.

“It’s going to show on the practice field first,” Bell said. “(The coaches) were seeing it in our guys and they started believing it. They learned that you need a Friday night effort Monday through Thursday out on that practice field. Finally it started showing on the scoreboard on Friday.

“The kids continued to make progress and that’s the most encouraging thing. At practice, we started putting them in more pressure situations and they’ve been able to respond. The first seven games when we made a mistake (on offense), the drive would stall. But the last two (games) we’ve been able to overcome mistakes and play through adversity and keep drives going. We’ve got to continue to do that.”

The Wildcats face a Fyffe team that like themselves, relies heavily on the running game.

Quarterback Kyle Dukes and running backs Logan Anderson, Brodie Hicks and Hunter Machen run behind a Fyffe offensive line that plays physical.

“They’re a typical Fyffe team,” Bell said. “Very well-coached, play extremely hard. They’re good up front. They do what they do and do it well.”

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