Griffins Devour Shamrocks

Randanion Sampson (32) upends Eau Claire’s receiver. (Photo/DeAnna Robinson)

WINNSBORO – Fairfield Central came to the table hungry Friday night and Eau Claire provided the homecoming meat as the Griffins feasted on the Shamrocks 58-6 at E.K. McLendon Stadium.

“It was a good win. I feel for those kids (Eau Claire). It’s got to be tough going to work every day and losing and losing and losing. But for my team, I’m happy we were able to win tonight,” Griffins head coach Demetrius Davis said. “We’re not quite as good as we probably feel like we are, and we’ve got to keep getting better. At the end of the day, our goal is to win the last one. If we don’t win the last one, then the year has been a failure.”

Joseph Young, returning kickoffs for the first time this season, launched the festivities by taking Eau Claire’s opening kick at his own 15 and exploding through coverage for an 85-yard touchdown blast before the fans could even take their seats. Compton Walker returned to his PAT duties by chucking the 2-point conversion to Javahnne Neal, putting the Griffins up 8-0 in the first 11 seconds of play.

“That’s the first (kickoff return for a touchdown) we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Davis said. “Joe was actually able to get the game started, and that’s what the plan was. I wanted to come out and attack early and figure out a way to get those young kids in there.”

The Shamrock offense, held to two first-half first downs, found nothing against a greedy Fairfield defense, quickly punting their first possession away after three plays. The Griffins took over on their own 33 and used as many plays to strike again. Quarterback DeAndre Belton found Kewaun Squirewell on the Eau Claire 30 for a rapid-fire first down. Larry G. Bell fought to the 30 on a pair of carries, and from there Belton burst in on the keeper. Walker snuck in the 2-point carry to make it 16-0 with 9:30 left in the opening frame.

After Neal returned the ensuing Eau Claire punt from his own 36 to the Shamrock 30, Belton, on the first snap, hit Tavaris Cook in stride for a 30-yard touchdown. Walker’s kick put Fairfield up 23-0 over the shell-shocked Shamrocks with 6:50 left in the first.

Things went from bad to worse for the ‘Rocks, and the game quickly turned into a highlight reel for the Griffins. Special teams struck again for Fairfield on the next Eau Claire possession when Devin Simmons blocked a Shamrock punt at Eau Claire’s 5-yard line, scooped it up at the 2 and trundled into the end zone. Walker’s kick made it 30-0 with 5:27 to go in the first.

The Shamrocks, facing a fourth-and-13 from their own 37 on their next possession, inexplicably rolled the dice and faked the punt. The pass from Wallace Green to Takari Robinson was good, but for a loss of a yard, giving Fairfield more grist for the mill. Three plays later, Young snatched the ball from the hands of Belton on the Statue of Liberty play and rushed into the end zone from 26 yards out. Walker’s kick put Fairfield up 37-0 with 1:19 to go in the first.

Taking over at mid-field after yet another Eau Claire punt to start the second quarter, the Griffins used but a single snap to hit pay dirt once more. This time Belton hit Javaris Cook with a 50-yard scoring strike, threading the Shamrock defense with surgical precision. Walker’s kick made it 44-0 with 9:58 remaining before the half, and spelled the end of the night for Belton and many of the offensive starters.

“I didn’t really want to pull DeAndre in the first half, but at the same time I wouldn’t have been able to sleep with myself if something happened to him when we’re up 40 points,” Davis said. “I wanted to leave him in to work on his timing and stuff.”

Although his time was limited Friday night, Belton’s timing was impeccable. Playing a grand total of 12 snaps, Belton was four of four passing with 116 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 44 yards and a touchdown on just two carries.

The Shamrocks put together a late third-quarter drive, polished off with a 41-yard run by Robinson with 11:35 to go in the fourth. The 2-point attempt failed, but Eau Claire had busted the shutout.

With Markell Whittaker now at the helm, the Griffins drove to Eau Claire’s 15 before fumbling the ball away on a botched handoff exchange. But the defense answered on Eau Claire’s first snap when freshman Jeff Russell picked off Jordan Thompson at the Eau Claire 21 and returned it to the 9-yard line for a Fairfield first-and-goal. Randanion Sampson took it from there, taking the first play into the end zone. Walker’s kick put the Griffins up 51-6 with 5:58 left in the game.

Now completely torn apart at the seams, the ‘Rocks fumbled the ensuing kickoff at their own 36. Darien Cloud pounced on it, setting up a 36-yard touchdown run by Jerrell Suber-O’Neal on Fairfield’s first snap. Walker’s kick put an end to the feeding frenzy, 58-6.

The Griffins now make ready to host Keenan next Friday. Kickoff is at 7:30, and will feature a visit from the S.C. State Marching 101 Band.

 

EC – 0-0-0-6 – 6

FC – 37-7-0-14 – 58

First Quarter

FC – Joseph Young 85 kickoff return. Javahnne Neal 2-pass from Compton Walker. (11:49)

FC – DeAndre Belton 30-run. C. Walker 2-run. (9:30)

FC – Tavaris Cook 30-pass from D. Belton. C. Walker kick. (6:50)

FC – Devin Simmons 2 blocked punt return. C. Walker kick. (5:27)

FC – J. Young 26-run. C. Walker kick. (1:19)

Second Quarter

FC – Javaris Cook 50-pass from D. Belton. C. Walker kick. (9:58)

Fourth Quarter

EC – Takari Robinson 41-run. Run failed. (11:35)

FC – Randanion Sampson 9-run. C. Walker kick. (5:58)

FC – Jerrell Suber-O’Neal 36-run. C. Walker kick. (3:24)

 

EC                                           FC

First Downs                                        4                                              9

Rushes/Yards                                    20-90                                     25-128

Passing Yards                                     24                                           159

C-A-I                                                      5-16-1                                   7-8-0

Fumbles/Lost                                    2-1                                          2-1

Penalties/Yards                                                9-44                                       8-65

Third Down Conv.                            1-9                                          0-4

Fourth Down Conv.                         0-0                                          2-3

 

RUSHING: EC – Takari Robinson 15-113, Jordan Thompson 4-(-23), Tierrell Brown 1-0. FC – Larry G. Bell 4-7, DeAndre Belton 2-34, Joseph Young 1-26, Randanion Sampson 4-23, Monteco Johnson 1-5, Jerrell Suber-O’Neal 12-29, Markell Whittaker 1-4.

RECEIVING: EC – Wallace Green 3-19, Takari Robinson 2-1, DeMarcus Butler 1-4. FC – Kewaun Squirewell 2-36, Tavaris Cook 1-30, Javaris Cook 1-50, Malik White 1-15, Jalen Copeland 1-21, Darien Cloud 1-7.

PASSING: EC – Jordan Thompson 5-15, 25 yards, INT; Wallace Green 1-1, (-1) yards. FC – DeAndre Belton 4-4, 116 yards, 2 TDs; Markell Whittaker 3-4, 43 yards.

ECHS: 0-3/0-7 FCHS: 2-0/7-0

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