Griffins Hang 50 on Crescent, Advance to Round Three

Fairfield’s Shadarius Hopkins picks off a pass from Crescent’s Dalston Davis.

It was an atypical slow start for the Griffins of Fairfield Central, hosting the Crescent Tigers out of Region I in round two of the Class 2A/Division I state playoffs, but an explosive third quarter catapulted the home team into round three Friday night as they hammered the Tigers 50-0.

The Griffins have now hung 50 or more points on their opponents four times in the last five games. It was also their third shutout over the same five-game stretch.

“I take my hat off to our defensive coaches,” Griffin head coach Demetrius Davis said. “They did a great job of preparing our kids to play this week.”

But coming into Friday night’s contest, and even for the first five minutes of play, the showdown between the high-octane Griffins and the ground-hog Tigers threatened to be a replay of week two’s 30-7 debacle at Abbeville – a similar offense based on grinding out yards and chewing up clock.

Crescent took the opening kick at their own 29 and put together a string of first downs behind running backs Ray Artybridge and B.J. Yeargin, crossing the 50 and marching steadily into Griffin territory. But with 6:26 left on the clock, the Griffin defense finally came alive, stuffing the Tiger’s fourth-and-5 gambit at the Fairfield 34.

The Griffin offense held the ball for nearly the remainder of the quarter, and it took them almost as long to find their legs on a drive that was assisted by consecutive 5-yard Tiger penalties on a Griffin fourth-and-10. Junior quarterback DeAndre Belton and senior running back Damien Bell rallied the Griffins then as they sliced into the Tiger defense, pressing the ball all the way to the Crescent 1. From there, Bell broke the stalemate with the shortest of his three touchdown runs of the night. Compton Walker was a perfect seven of seven on PAT attempts Friday, one of which was a 1-yard pass to Bell on the 2-point conversion.

“We’re starting to play pretty good,” Davis said. “Ever since Union (a 42-40 loss), we’ve been clicking a little bit. I think our guys are starting to understand what we do and they’re starting to enjoy it and have a little fun doing it.”

Although the Griffins took a 21-0 lead into the half, the real fun began in quarter number three.

Crescent’s onside kick attempt to open the second half of play was recovered on the second bounce by Fairfield’s Chris Cloud at the Tiger 48. On the second play from scrimmage, Belton broke through the line and found the next gear, leaving a trail of puffing Tigers in his wake on his way to the end zone.

“Coach (Ryan) Sharpe has done a great job with (Belton),” Davis said. “He is not the same guy you saw tonight who went to Abbeville back in the day. He does a great job. We go as he goes.”

The Crescent offense continued to put up big numbers on the ground, but only between the 20s. The Tigers got as close as the Fairfield 19 on their next possession, but a fumble by Crescent’s Josh House was recovered by Antonio Lewis at the 17, and the Griffin offense was back in control again.

The Griffins earned a lot of yellow flags on the drive, but were still able to pound the ball to the Crescent 4 to set up another Bell score. As the Tigers began to come unraveled, the personal fouls flew in both directions. The Griffins were penalized for 95 yards on the night, while the Tigers had to give back 128. The lapse in composure drew some criticism from the head coach after the game.

“We’ve got to be able to be mature enough to know when we’re being pulled into something,” Davis said. “We’ve got to be able to say we’re playing for something bigger. Our guys have got to learn to walk away.”

The Fairfield Central defense, which kept the Tiger ground game at bay and completely neutralized any feeble attempts at a passing game, put the final points on the board in the third quarter highlight reel. With 5:10 on the clock, and with the Tigers facing a second-and-11 from their own 19, Shadarius Hopkins scooped up a Crescent fumble, emerged from the scrum and darted untouched into the end zone to put the Griffins up 43-0.

Bell, standing in at quarterback with the reserve squad, put the Griffins into the half-century mark midway through the fourth quarter with a 40-yard touchdown run.

The Griffins will host Cheraw in round three, a rematch of the Sept. 21 game in which the Griffins stunned the Braves 43-8 in Cheraw. Cheraw beat Pendleton 17-14 Friday night to advance.

FC 7-14-22-7  50

CH 0-0-0-0    0

First Quarter

FC – Damien Bell 1 run. Compton Walker kick. (1:01)

Second Quarter

FC – DeAndre Belton 30 run. Walker kick. (10:33)

FC – Keith Workman 14 pass from Belton. Walker kick. (9:16)

Third Quarter

FC – Belton 48 run. Walker kick. (11:42)

FC – D. Bell 4 run. Bell 1 pass from Walker. (6:06)

FC – Shadarius Hopkins 19 fumble return. Walker kick. (5:10)

Fourth Quarter

FC – D. Bell 40 run. Walker kick. (7:05)

Team Stats

FC                           CH

First Downs                        12                           16

Rushes/Yards                    29-283                   55-192

Passing Yards                     67                           0

C-A-I-TD                          6-13-0-1               0-5-1-0

Fumbles/Lost                    1-0                          5-2

Penalties/Yards                8-95                       15-128

Individual Stats

RUSHING: FC – Damien Bell 11-127. DeAndre Belton 7-97. Larry G. Bell 6-60. Daniel Maple 2-4. Joseph Young 2-(-5). CH – Ray Artybridge 16-50. B.J. Yeargin 17-48. Rodriguez Chester 5-13. Dylan Wages 1-5. Dalston Davis 5-30. Bydarius Heath 1-6. Josh House 7-22. Devin Taylor 4-23.

PASSING: FC – DeAndre Belton 6-12-67 yards, 0 INT, 1 TD. Daniel Maple 0-1. CH – Dalston Davis 0-5-0 yards, 1 INT.

RECEIVING: FC – Jarvis Cook 2-12. Damien Bell 2-14. Kewaun Squirewell 1-10. Javin George 1-9. Keith Workman 1-14.

Records: FC – 5-0/9-2. CH – 4-3/8-4.

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