Belton hat-trick puts Griffins back into win column

Griffins’ quarterback DeAndre Belton follows lead blockers Malik Mickle (58) and Damian Bell (9) on his way to one of three touchdowns Friday night at Chester.

Larry G. Bell cuts back into the hole.

Is football big in Fairfield County? One look at the full visitor’s stands in Chester on Friday will confirm that it is. The visiting fans that came to cheer on the Griffins greatly outnumbered the Cyclone’s home crowd, and they did not go home disappointed, as the Griffins toppled Chester 18-7.

Coming off a painful loss to Abbeville last week, Fairfield Central needed a victory very badly. The mood among the coaches was decidedly downbeat. Head coach Demetrius Davis approached the game with determination, yet was he not totally optimistic.

“We are a young team but inexperienced,” Davis said. “They are a young team with experience. Only two of my offensive players have played in a varsity game before.

“I don’t think I have had a solid night’s sleep since Abbeville,” Davis said. “Tonight, our back was against the wall, but we bounced back. We kept on fighting.”

The first quarter featured good defense by both teams, limiting each other to short gains and a couple of first downs by the Griffins but no scoring. Finally, on a quarterback keeper at 1:15 to go in the first quarter, DeAndre Belton, seeing that all of his receivers were well covered, elected to run the ball himself. He made it into the end zone for the touchdown to give the Griffins the early 6-0 lead. Belton was to repeat this quarterback keeper play twice more, as he scored all three of Fairfield Central’s touchdowns, but all three of the Griffins’ 2-point conversion attempts came up empty.

The first of the critical turnovers for Chester occurred at the end of the first quarter when a pass by Quan Campbell was intercepted. After the assessment of a penalty against FCHS, the Griffins had the ball on the Chester 35-yard line. Fairfield was able to work the ball down to the Chester 20-yard line before giving it back on downs.

With 30 seconds to go in the half, the Cyclones had one more chance to even the score, or take the lead. Chester’s Jamarcus Moore received the Griffin’s punt, but could only run it back for 5 yards, and the halftime clock ran out after the following play.

Chester opened the second half with what appeared to be a viable series, but their luck ran out when a high snap sailed over the head of quarterback Tommy Sanders. Sanders was forced to scramble backwards to recover the ball before a Fairfield defender could reach it. After the recovery by Sanders, the team found itself in a second-and-20 situation with 10:40 to go in the third quarter. After a complete pass from Sanders to Latrone Tolliver, Chester made another of its costly turnovers when Broderick Roscoe fumbled and the Griffins recovered the ball.

Following the turnover, the Griffins were helped by two successive running plays resulting in a first down. A handoff from Belton to Larry G. Bell brought the Griffins to the Chester 42-yard line. The Griffins further benefited by an off-sides penalty against Chester’s DeAndre Minter.

At 9:18 in the third quarter, Belton faked a handoff to Damian Bell and ran the ball himself into the end zone for the Griffin’s second touchdown.

Chester’s following possession ended in a punt that was fielded by Compton Walker on the Fairfield 37-yard line. Walker found a seam in the coverage, hit the afterburners and returned the ball all the way to the Chester 12.

Hoping lightning would strike twice, on the next play Belton again faked a handoff to Damian Bell, but Belton was pushed out of bounds at the 15 yard line. On the next play, Bell brought the ball to the 2-yard line. At 7:36 to go in the third quarter, Belton, for the third time, ran the ball into the end zone for the team’s final touchdown.

Another of the Chester turnovers occurred with 6 minutes to go in the game when a pass by Sanders was intercepted by Shadarius Hopkins on the Chester 35-yard line. Hopkins ran the ball to the Chester 20-yard line. Unfortunately, a personal foul penalty brought the ball back 10 yards.

In the final quarter, both teams were able to move the ball and make good plays, but neither could score a point. With time running out and down by three scores, the Cyclones had work to do. The Griffin’s defense was ready to seal the deal, however.

Chester was able to avoid the shutout with a late score. With seconds to go in the game, Lorenzo White caught a pass from Sanders for the touchdown, making the score 18-7.

A desperation on-side kick was recovered by Fairfield, who ran the clock out for the victory.

“The difference in tonight’s game is that we didn’t turn the ball over,” Davis said. “We forced them to turn the ball over. It was a hard-nosed, tough football game. We need to keep grinding, and each week we should get better and better.”

The Griffins (2-1) will next face the Union Yellowjackets . The Yellowjackets sport a 2-1 record, having been defeated by Greer High School by a score of 41-28 in a non-region game.

 

FCHS 6 0 12 0 – 18

CHS 0 0 0 7 – 7

Scoring

First Quarter

FC-Belton 41 run. PAT failed. (1:15)

Third Quarter

FC-Belton 31 run. PAT failed. (9:18)

FC-Belton 2 run. PAT failed. (7:36)

Fourth Quarter

C- Sanders pass to White. Kick good. (:40)

Team Statistics

                         FCHS              CHS

First Downs   11                        9

Rushes/Yds. 51/192               29/44

Comp-Att.  6/12/0                15/26/3

Pass Yds.       33                          15

Fumbles-lost    0/0                3/2

Penalties-Yds.     10/90            8/71

Individual Statistics

RUSHING: FCHS –  D. Bell 37-68, D. Belton 7-85 3TD, L.G. Bell 2-15, Foster 1-2. CHS –  D. Rembert 13-27,  L. White 5/28, Caldwell 1-7, Sanders 1-8.

PASSING: FCHS – D.Belton 16-12-0-33 yds.  CHS – Sanders 15-26-3-15 yds.

RECEIVING: FCHS –  S. Wilson 2-8, Foster 1-2.  CHS – Sanders 1-7, Caldwell 3-45.  D. Rembert 3-18, Tolliver 1-15, L. White 2-18, Jackson 1-15.