DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – As we gear up for the high school football season, News 19 will be previewing more than 40 of our Tennessee Valley programs in On the Road with Olivia and Claudia.
Episode 11 features the Fyffe Red Devils and the Plainview Bears.
Fyffe is back in 2A after spending two seasons up in 3A. The Red Devils are coming off of what many in the program would consider a down year as they went 10-2, dropping a regular season contest to rivals Geraldine, then losing in the third round of the playoffs, snapping their streak of three straight state championships.
“It gives you pretty good motivation because when you sit there and watch all of these teams in front of you do all of this success and you come in there and you’re the one who didn’t make it to state or win all of the games, it just makes this year personal because you want to make everybody that you let down last year proud,” Fyffe senior offensive lineman Jake Wooden said.
But head coach Paul Benefield isn’t too concerned. He says the team has had a good offseason and they’re focused on playing hard and playing together this fall.
“If we go out and do those things and we’re ready to play that way for four quarters, what else can you do, you’ve done the best you can do,” Benefield said.
As Benefield enters his 26th season at the helm of building this powerhouse program, he also knows that what he’s doing off the field leaves a lasting impact.
“You just hope that every day you do something to help get that kind of integrity about you that you have to work to earn something and be successful. Hopefully, that will go with them all their life,” Benefield added.
Now we head over to Planview which has a new head coach but not one who needs much of an introduction around town. Dale Pruitt is back for his third stint with the Bears.
“I started writing their names down and I noticed I had coached all of their fathers. It’s been a while, like they said it’s been 7 years since I left Plainview. I’m surprised you haven’t asked me, ‘Coach, when are you going to quit?’ and then I tell you, when I croak,” Pruitt said.
The Bears went 7-4 last year with a first-round playoff exit, but Pruitt feels confident with where the program is at.
“Culture is a big word, To me, that was not something that had to be established. They have won, they know how to win,” Pruitt added.
While it won’t be an easy road ahead, Pruitt says he’s just happy to be back and ready for the challenge.
“Our schedule, it’s basically the SEC West and it gets you prepared for the postseason. Our region plus our non region games, there’s nobody else that you’re going to play against that’s going to intimidate you come playoff time,” Pruitt said.
The Bears will play at Priceville week zero while the Red Devils have a bye and will play in a huge game at Geraldine to open their season.