Griffins Plaster Braves

Fairfield’s Davon Pearson (25) grabs Cheraw’s Mark Bowman (10) in the backfield as Dustin Padgett (44) zeroes in for the kill. (Photo/DeAnna Robinson)

WINNSBORO – For the third time in a little more than a calendar year, the Fairfield Central Griffins disposed of the Cheraw Braves, this time 41-6 at E.K. McLendon Stadium Friday night. With Friday’s results, the Griffins have outscored the Braves 110-22 in their last three meetings, with Fairfield Central thumping the Braves 42-6 in Cheraw last September and then knocking them out in the second round of the Class 2A/Division I state playoffs 27-10 last November.

Friday night, the Griffins came out slinging, with quarterback DeAndre Belton directing the game’s opening drive from the Fairfield 43 and firing off passes of 8, 14 and 24 yards to take them down to the Cheraw 11 in just three plays. Belton then tucked the ball and wormed his way to the Cheraw 8, setting up Joseph Young’s first touchdown run of the night. Stanley McManus, again filling in for an injured Compton Walker, added the extra point, and in only a minute and 16 seconds, the Griffins had a 7-0 lead.

“(Cheraw) ran an old ’86 Bears defense, with an eight-man box and one backer and every gap covered,” Griffin head coach Demetrius Davis said. “You really couldn’t run the football, so we knew we had to throw it to be able to run it a little bit. The inside run, we knew, wasn’t going to be there tonight. We knew we were going to have to get on the perimeter and we were going to have to throw the ball.”

Belton would go on to throw for 217 yards on the night, including a 59-yard touchdown to Javaris Cook in the third quarter. Young, meanwhile, hammered in three touchdowns for the Griffins’ ground game, a ground game that tallied 238 yards against the Cheraw defense as the Fairfield passing game loosened up the Braves’ resistance.

“We were able to come out and attack, and that’s what we want to do – attack, attack, attack, and get them down,” Davis said. “What’s happening now is a lot of people are taking DeAndre out of the run game, which I would do that, too. So they’ve got to realize, by taking him out of the running game, you open up a lot of stuff down the field.”

The Griffins’ defense punished the Braves, holding them to three first downs in the first half. The Braves managed only 6 total rushing yards through the first two quarters, along with 25 passing yards; but 35 yards of penalties cut their net first-half yardage to an anemic -4.

Fairfield Central was able to throw three quarters of shutout ball with a defensive backfield that was short Compton Walker and that put Shadarius Hopkins and Javahnne Neal on the field for only a limited amount of time Friday. The reserves answered the call, however.

“We put some young kids in there and they played pretty good,” Davis said. “I thought our guys got out (and played well). People don’t want to hear a lot of labor pains; they just want to see a baby. They don’t want to hear who’s not there; they just want to see the team win. We were able to get those guys out there and get through this game. We didn’t play very good. It was kind of raggedy in the first half. Our goal was, if it’s 2-0, we just want to get out of here (with a win).”

Kalil Keitt, leading the Midlands in sacks, added two more Friday night to bring his total up to 10. In the third quarter, Keitt was in the process of adding his 11th sack of the year, but as he was wrestling Cheraw quarterback Tristen Campbell to the turf, Campbell got the ball away.

In retrospect, Campbell would have preferred the sack, as his pass was snatched out of the air by Fairfield Central’s Chris Boyd, who returned the pick 52 yards for a touchdown with a minute to go in the third. McManus’s PAT added the final points of the night for the Griffins.

“(Keitt) is playing lights-out,” Davis said. “(Boyd) dropped (an interception) earlier, so he got a second chance to make a play. He made it, and he took it to the house.”

Larry G. Bell put the Griffins’ second touchdown on the board Friday with a 1-yard run that capped off Fairfield’s first possession of the second quarter. The drive began on the Griffins’ 28 and featured only one pass completion on two attempts. Instead, Bell, Belton and Young pounded away at the Braves’ defense, and Tyren White showed his speed with a 12-yard gain on an end-around run. McManus added the PAT to give the Griffins a 14-0 halftime lead.

A 32-yard return by White set the Griffins up for their first scoring drive of the third quarter, as he returned the Cheraw punt to the Braves’ 36. The drive was hampered by a penalty that put the Griffins back on their own 46, and one play later the Griffins were facing a third-and-20 from the Cheraw 48. But Belton looked over the middle and found White in single coverage. Belton delivered a strike and White, with one move, took the ball down to the Cheraw 16. From there, Young blasted through the Braves’ line and into the end zone. The McManus kick put the Griffins up 21-0 over a stunned Cheraw team.

The Griffins stared their next possession on their own 6, and used only four plays and one minute and one second to get into the end zone, this time the 59-yard dagger from Belton to Cook. McManus missed his only PAT of the night, but the Griffins were up 27-0 with 7:47 to go in the third.

The ensuing Braves’ drive was put to bed in four plays as well, ending when Keitt recovered a Cheraw fumble at the Griffin 45. The turnover set up Young’s final touchdown of the evening, a 12-yard run that put the finishing touches on a six-play, 1:37 drive. McManus’s kick made it 34-0 Griffins with 3:40 left in the third quarter.

Boyd’s interception return and the McManus kick made it 41-0 in the final minute of the quarter, but Cheraw ended the shutout in the fourth when Campbell connected with Lincoln Cooper on a 6-yard pass with 8:16 to play. The 2-point pass attempt was no good.

Fairfield Central hosts Columbia High School this Friday in the Region III opener, and Davis said he expects to have his full complement of Griffins available.

“Compton will be back next week. He’ll be able to play,” Davis said. “Hopkins could have gone a little more (tonight) if we wanted him to. Same with Neal. They didn’t practice this week, but I think next week they’ll be able to actually practice. I expect us to have everybody back next week.”

The Capitals come into the game sporting a 1-4 record with losses to Wilson (27-14), Dreher (41-7), Daniel (49-6) and A.C. Flora (40-15). Columbia’s lone victory came on Aug. 30, 14-0 over Calhoun County.

“We’ve got the toughest game of the year (vs. Columbia),” Davis said. “The toughest game is always the next game. I think they’re going to be riding high. They were off this week, so they should be fresh.”

Last year, the Griffins topped the Capitals 38-19 in Columbia. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.


FC – 7-7-27-0 – 41

CH – 0-0-0-6 – 6

First Quarter

FC – Joe Young 8-run. Stanley McManus kick. (10:38)

Second Quarter

FC – Larry G. Bell 1-run. S. McManus kick. (7:19)

Third Quarter

FC – J. Young 16-run. S. McManus kick. (9:52)

FC – Javaris Cook 59-pass from DeAndre Belton. Kick failed. (7:47)

FC – J. Young 12-run. S. McManus kick. (3:40)

FC – Chris Boyd 52 INT return. S. McManus kick. (1:00)

Fourth Quarter

CH – Lincoln Cooper 6-pass from Tristen Campbell. Pass failed. (8:16)


FC                                           CH

First Downs                        20                                           9

Rushes/Yards                    41-238                                   25-31

Passing Yards                     217                                         113

C-A-I-TD                               12-19-0-1                             12-25-1-1

Fumbles/Lost                    2-1                                          1-1

Penalties/Yards                                9-68                                       5-55

Third Down Conv.            5-10                                       2-11

Fourth Down Conv.         1-3                                          0-1


RUSHING: FC – DeAndre Belton 9-57, Joseph Young 8-56, Larry G. Bell 15-59, Javahnne Neal 1-2, Markell Whittaker 1-(-2), Tyren White 1-12, Monteco Johnson 1-14, Randanion Sampson 2-21, Jerrell Suber-O’Neal 4-26, Jeff Russell 1-14. CH – Dejahn Campbell 5-(-2), Mark Bowman 3-20, Randall Watson 3-5, Robert Pitts 3-(-15), Tristen Campbell 1-3, Stephon Harington 3-5, Taravis Harrington 7-15.

RECEIVING: FC – Tavarus Cook 4-38, Tyren White 2-46, Javaris Cook 3-84, Kewaun Squirewell 3-49. CH – Teddy Gillespie 3-27, Baylen English 5-31, Demarcus McManus 1-8, David Brown 2-41, Lincoln Cooper 1-6.

PASSING: FC – DeAndre Belton 12-18, 217 yards, 0 INT, 1 TD; Stanley McManus 0-1. CH – Robert Pitts 5-15, 35 yards; Tristen Campbell 7-10, 72 yards, 1 INT, 1 TD.

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