Griffins Overpower Braves in Cheraw

Compton Walker (4) returns the Cheraw kick to mid-field.

Griffins quarterback DeAndre Belton (3) breaks into open field.

The Fairfield Central Griffins wrapped up their pre-region schedule Friday night with an impressive 43-8 win over the Braves at Cheraw. The victory lifts the Griffins to 3-2 on the year and redeems them from last week’s loss to Union County, when 40 points just wasn’t enough against the high-powered Yellowjackets – but for a brief moment in the early going, Cheraw appeared to loom like a specter of the Abbeville Panthers.

The Griffins squandered excellent field position on their first two possessions of the night when quarterback DeAndre Belton tossed a pair of interceptions, forcing the ball into heavy Braves coverage. The first pick came at the Cheraw 32 on the Griffins’ third snap of the game. The second, at their own 49 on the fourth snap.

“We had those two turnovers early in the game, and I thought it was Abbeville all over again,” Griffins head coach Demetrius Davis said. “But he (Belton) is growing up. The look he had in his eye – I went to him and said ‘Dre, you’re our guy, so just relax.’ The thing that happened in Abbeville, I think he pressed himself, and I think we learned a lot. We’re good enough on defense that if we don’t turn it over seven times, we’ve still got a chance to win.”

Where the Braves were unable to make hay of their opportunities, the Griffins cashed in on theirs.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Braves took a Griffin punt and were grinding out an impressive drive with their largely earth-bound attack. The Griffin defense stiffened at their own 34, however, forcing Cheraw into a fourth-and-3, roll-the-dice situation.

Roll the dice they did.

And came up craps.

Devontae Foster snatched Brett Burnett’s forward pass out of the air at his own 20, then showed the Braves his taillights, sprinting 80 yards for the touchdown. Compton Walker added the extra point and the Griffins jumped out in front of the shell-shocked Braves, 7-0.

But the Braves responded in typical Cheraw fashion, with a clock-consuming drive that began on their own 31 and climaxed in a 2-yard run by beefy running back Xavier Taylor. The kick by James Davis sailed wide, however, preventing the Braves from tying the contest. Walker, meanwhile, was five for five on extra-point kicks for the Griffins Friday and chucked in a 2-point conversion pass to Damian Bell for good measure.

“Our young guys are growing up,” Davis said. “Our young guys are getting better. Every game we play, our young guys get another game under their belt.”

The Griffins stretched their lead to 14-0 when Bell capped a nearly 3-minute drive with his first of three touchdowns on the night, this one from 4-yards out with 3:49 left in the half. Bell earned his second a little over 2 minutes later on a 9-yard run, punctuating a lightning 49-second, three-play drive that began on the Cheraw 39.

Trailing 22-6 at the half, Cheraw’s offense sputtered against the Griffin defense for the rest of the night. Their opening drive of the third quarter saw the Braves reach as far as mid-field before the Griffins pushed them back to their own 40 and forced a punt. The snap on the punt wobbled high over James Davis’s head, and although he recovered the loose ball, he did so at the Cheraw 10 where the Griffins took over. Four plays later, Belton hit Kewaun Squirewell with a 9-yard touchdown pass, and the flood gates were open.

On their next possession, the Griffins gobbled up a remarkable 54 yards in under a minute, topped off with a 31-yard touchdown scamper by Bell to put the Griffins up 36-6.

The Griffins put their final points on the board early in the fourth quarter, this time on a 23-yard touchdown pass to Keith Workman from Belton. A late safety by the Braves against the Griffins’ substitutes was all the scoring Cheraw would muster in the second half.

The Griffins say farewell to non-region play for 2012 and now turn their attention to Columbia High School in next week’s region opener.

“We’ve got nine games left this year, so we’ve got to get better every game,” Davis said. “This is a big momentum builder going into region play. We’re at the point now where our kids understand it’s the little things that win and lose football games. As long as we can do that, then I think we’ll be fine going into the region.”

 

FC  0-22-14-7  43

CH 0-6-0-2  8

 

SCORING

Second Quarter

FC: Devontae Foster 80 INT return. Compton Walker kick. (11:41)

CH: Xavier Taylor 2 run. Kick failed. (6:32)

FC: Damian Bell 4 run. Walker kick. (3:49)

FC: D. Bell 9 run. D. Bell 2 pass from C. Walker. (1:03)

Third Quarter

FC: Kewaun Squirewell 9 pass from DeAndre Belton. C. Walker kick. (7:27)

FC: D. Bell 31 run. C. Walker kick. (3:53)

Fourth Quarter

FC: Keith Workman 23 pass from D. Belton. C. Walker kick. (10:50)

CH: Kevon Butler safety.

TEAM STATS

FC                           CH

Rush/Yards         20-102                   49-133

Passing Yards     124                         37

C-A-INT                                7-13-2                   8-15-1

First Downs        10                           12

Fumbles/Lost    2-1                          2-1

Penalties/Yds    8-69                       5-25

INDIVIDUAL STATS

RUSHING: FC—D. Bell 10-58. D. Belton 5-45. M. Whittaker 1-(-5). J. Young 2-7. CH—J. Chapman 22-79. X. Taylor 8-25. T. Harrington 7-21. D. Sanders 1-9. B. Burnett 4-8. C. Johnson 3-1. R. Pitts 4-(-10).

PASSING: FC—D. Belton 7-12-124 2INT 2TD. M. Whittaker 0-1-0. CH—R. Pitts 4-8-28. B. Burnett 4-7-9 1 INT.

RECEIVING: FC—D. Bell 2-55. K. Squirewell 2-23. T. White 1-11. D. Maple 1-12. K. Workman 1-23. CH—D. Sanders 3-28. W. Martin 1-3. J. Cooks 1-(-4). T. Gillespie 1-(-3). D. Brown 2-13.

Records: FC 0-0/3-2  CH 0-0/2-3