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Mark Edwards: B.B. Comer fell in state finals, but proved they belong

B.B. Comer vs. Fyffe

B.B. Comer's Kamore Harris finds an opening through the Fyffe defense.

AUBURN — Nobody wants a moral victory, but here's hoping B.B. Comer's football team can take some satisfaction with what it has accomplished.

The Tigers gave a tremendous performance in a 40-28 loss Friday to football powerhouse Fyffe in the Class 3A state finals. Nobody played Fyffe closer this year than B.B. Comer did.

If not for an awful six-minute stretch in the second quarter, who knows? A turnover on downs, a fumble and a misplayed kickoff led to Fyffe's first three touchdowns. Just before the end of the half, an interception resulted in Fyffe's fourth touchdown.

Cut those issues in half, and perhaps we're discussing B.B. Comer's first state football championship. Or not.

Either way, Fossett's program reached the biggest stage in high school football and proved it belonged.

B.B. Comer isn't going away. Fossett said he has only six seniors with a bundle of returning players, including 11 juniors and a collection of sophomores. Those guys contributed plenty to this year's 12-win season, and they'll serve as the base for another good team next year.

This is what you get when you build a solid program like Fossett, his staff and his players have built a solid program. In the postgame news conference, Fossett kept referring to the "program” — not the "team."

B.B. Comer hasn't built a here-today, gone-tomorrow team. They've built a program that will last, so don't be surprised if B.B. Comer is right back in the finals next year.

When Fossett first arrived at B.B. Comer in 2018, the program had won seven games in four years. In his second season, the Tigers managed six wins and their first playoff victory in 19 years.

They've won 39 games in Fossett's five years. They've gotten to the second round of the playoffs in each of the last four seasons.

This year, they won a region crown and made the state finals. B.B. Comer hasn't done either since 1995.

They have a star-level player in running back Kamore Harris, a junior. He picked up 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns Friday, giving him 808 rushing yards in five playoff games, along with 11 rushing touchdowns and two scoring receptions.

Even so, while Harris is going to get plenty of attention from Division I coaches, there's much more on the roster, on both sides of the ball.

B.B. Comer has a proud football tradition, most from when Bobby Overton coached the team in 1966-2001. He won 202 games and seven region crowns. He got to the state finals once, the state semifinals another time and the quarterfinals twice.

Since then, it's been pretty spotty — until Fossett came. He's had success before, including at Winterboro and Childersburg, but he's having his best days at B.B. Comer. Perhaps it's a marriage of a program that needed a coach like Fossett, and a coach who needed a program like B.B. Comer's that had potential not everyone could see.

It's unfortunate that B.B. Comer ran into Fyffe in the finals. If you're looking for the best high school programs in Alabama, you likely will find Thompson, Piedmont and Fyffe standing on top of that hill.

Fyffe has won six state titles in the past nine years under Paul Benefield, a state legend. He's won 292 games at Fyffe, his alma mater, and began coaching there in 1997. Fossett joked that graduated from high school in 1997. In the past nine years, they've lost exactly five games.

It would be fun to see Fyffe and B.B. Comer go at it again next year in the state finals.

It certainly would be challenging … for both sides.

Senior Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.