Griffins Batter Union County

Joseph Young (21) and Larry G. Bell (28) blasted the Union defense for 196 combined rushing yards. (Photo/Joe Seibles)

UNION – For the second time in three weeks, the Fairfield Central Griffins avenged a 2012 loss, this time belting the Union County Yellow Jackets 35-11 at Union County Stadium.

The Griffins exploded for 20 unanswered points in the third quarter, fueled by a defense that killed three consecutive Yellow Jacket drives with interceptions by Devin Simmons, Shadarius Hopkins and Javahnne Neal. After Simmons picked Union starting quarterback Matt Barnett at the Yellow Jacket 44, workhorse Larry G. Bell hammered the Griffins down to the 13. From there, DeAndre Belton hit Kewaun Squirewell with a touchdown pass to go up 21-3.

The next Union possession was good for all of 7 seconds and one snap, as Barnett’s pass was tipped by Larry J. Bell and snatched out of the air by Hopkins at the Griffin 39. Fairfield then used seven plays to slice through the Union defense, as Belton connected with Tyren White for 24 yards and Squirewell for 22 yards, while Larry G. Bell, Joseph Young and Neal pounded the ball to the Union 1. Young finished off the drive with a 1-yard run to put the Griffins up 28-3.

Union then brought in backup quarterback Ben Beck, who got off two snaps before being picked by Neal at the Fairfield 35. Three plays later, Bell was in the end zone again, this time from 12 yards out and a 35-3 lead.

The Griffin defense was omnipresent, sacking Union County’s play caller seven times – four by Kalil Keitt, two for Larry J. Bell and one for Chanti Jones – and squashing the passing game to an abysmal 66 yards.

“That was the plan,” Griffin head coach Demetrius Davis said. “We (thought we) might give up some big plays, but we were going to make (the Union quarterback) be restless all night. I wanted him to see Griffins all night long. We weren’t going to let him stand back there and pick us apart, like he’s done against some of their first couple of opponents.”

The Union running game fared little better, at least until the Jackets brought in their third quarterback of the night, Dierrus Smith, late in the third quarter. Smith’s 82 yards on eight carries salvaged a running game that had to that point been stifled for negative net yards.

The Griffins’ running game, meanwhile, was an avalanche, chewing up the Union defense for 225 yards. Larry G. Bell led the charge with 108 yards on 23 carries, while Young tipped in 88 yards on 17 carries.

“We’re blessed to have those two guys back there,” Davis said. “You can’t stop ‘em all. You’ve got to pick your poison, and I guess their poison was they were going to let Joe and Larry beat them instead of DeAndre.”

While the Union defense did, particularly in the first quarter, hem Belton in the box and limit his ground attack, through the air, Belton carved up the Jackets for 157 yards. Squirewell alone was good for 99 yards on the night, including the third quarter touchdown that unleashed the feeding frenzy.

“They were overloading us on the inside, and we couldn’t get into our run game inside,” Davis said. “They completely had a plan to not let DeAndre run the ball tonight. They did a great job containing DeAndre. But once you take one thing away, something else opens up. That’s why we were able to throw the ball. This offensive line is at the point now where whatever a defense does to us, we can make the adjustments and move on.”

Move on they did, and with some spare parts to boot. Defensive back, punter and kicker Compton Walker injured his shoulder Friday night while intercepting a first-quarter Barnett pass. That left the PAT duties to freshman Stanley McManus, who was three of four from the tee on the night and chucked a 2-point conversion to Neal in the third quarter.

“Stanley McManus came in, a doggone freshman, and I think he missed one PAT, and he punted,” Davis said. “I think that’s the biggest part of the game. When Compton went out, you just lost a defensive back, you just lost a place kicker and you just lost a punter. To be able to get this win without him, that’s big.”

After being picked by Walker on their first possession, the Jackets took their next drive from near mid-field to the Griffin 14. Facing a fourth-and-4, the Jackets sent Blake Berry in for a 31-yard field goal and the early 3-0 lead.

Having been stymied on their first two possessions, the Griffins found their legs after the field goal, charging from their 15 down to the Union County 2 where Larry G. Bell banged in his first of three touchdowns of the night. Up 7-3, the Griffins took their next possession from their own 20 and put together a 13-play, four-minute drive that Bell again polished off, this time from 4 yards out. The McManus to Neal 2-point pitch gave the Griffins a 15-3 halftime lead.

“I think we can do whatever it takes to get it done,” Davis said. “If we can just stay healthy I think we have a chance. You’ve got to come to work every day. It only takes one game and things can start going downhill.”

The Griffins host Cheraw this Friday, with kickoff at 7:30 p.m. The Braves sport a 1-3 record and are coming off a 28-0 loss to Hartsville last week. The Griffins toppled Cheraw twice last year – 42-6 on Sept. 21 in Cheraw, and 27-10 in round two of the playoffs on Nov. 16 in Winnsboro.

“They’re going to come in the same way we came in here (Union) – trying to get some redemption,” Davis said. “They’re going to come in and run the football. They’re a well-coached football team, so they’ll be ready to play.”

There was no word at press time as to Walker’s condition or availability for Friday night’s game.

 

FC 7-8-20-0 – 35

UC 3-0-0-8 – 11

First Quarter

UC – Blake Berry 31-FG. (5:47)

FC – Larry G. Bell 2-run. Stanley McManus kick. (1:38)

Second Quarter

FC – L.G. Bell 4-run. Javahnne Neal 2-pass from S. McManus. (8:36)

Third Quarter

FC – Kewaun Squirewell 13-pass from DeAndre Belton. Kick failed. (8:17)

FC – Joseph Young 7-run. S. McManus kick. (5:40)

FC – L.G. Bell 12-run. S. McManus kick. (3:43)

Fourth Quarter

UC – Dierrus Smith 5-run. D. Smith 1-run. (0:16.9)

 

FC                           UC

First Downs                        19                           11

Rushes/Yards                    55-225                   26-107

Passing Yards                     159                         66

C-A-Int-TD                          9-18-0-1               9-24-4-0

Penalties/Yards                                8-86                       3-25

Fumbles/Lost                    2-0                          0

 

RUSHING: FC – DeAndre Belton 10-32, Joseph Young 17-88, Larry G. Bell 22-108, Javaris Cook 1-5. #9 1-(-11), #42 1-(-1), #32 1-(-5). UC – Matt Barnett 4-(-17), Ben Beck 1-(-3), Christian Petty 11-45, Ty Thomas 3-(-3), Dierrus Smith 8-82.

RECEIVING: FC – Kewaun Squirewell 4-99, Tyren White 2-38, Javaris Cook 1-16, Joseph Young 1-4, Javahnne Neal 1-2. UC – Jordan Spencer 3-24, Shi Smith 1-14, T.J. Foster 2-19, Christian Petty 1-5, Shemar Glenn 1-4.

PASSING: FC – DeAndre Belton 8-16, 157 yards, 1 TD; Stanley McManus 1-1, 2 yards, PAT; Joseph Young 0-1. UC – Matt Barnett 6-15, 47 yards, 3 INT; Ben Beck 0-1, 1 INT; Dierrus Smith 3-8, 19 yards.

Records: FCHS—0-0/4-0. UCHS 0-0/0-4