Coach Sits Out Big Game in Jail

David Toney

WINNSBORO – When the Fairfield Central High School Griffins took the field Friday night for what was undoubtedly their most important game of the season, the Class 2A/Division 1 State Championship, they were one coach shy of a full load. Just hours before the opening kickoff, Griffins’ defensive coordinator David Nathaniel Toney was jailed on marijuana charges, leaving the Griffins shorthanded in their contest with Dillon High School at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium in Columbia.

According to the S.C. Highway Patrol (SCHP), Toney, 36, was pulled over on Highway 34 near I-77 at 6:15 p.m. Friday after a trooper clocked Toney’s 2008 Chrysler Aspen going 67 in a 55 MPH zone. The trooper approached the vehicle and asked Toney for his license and registration. At that time, a report from the SCHP states, the trooper noticed a “strong odor of marijuana” coming from inside the car. The trooper asked Toney if there was any marijuana in the vehicle, to which Toney replied that he “hoped not,” the report states.

When the trooper asked a second time about the marijuana, Toney reportedly said that he had “a little bag,” and retrieved a clear plastic bag of marijuana from the center console of the vehicle and handed it over to the patrolman.

Toney was then asked to exit the car, was placed in handcuffs and secured inside the patrol car. The trooper then searched Toney’s car and reportedly found a marijuana cigarette from inside a cup that was sitting in the center console. The trooper also discovered “numerous burnt marijuana cigarettes inside the same cup,” the report states. Toney was arrested for possession of marijuana and taken to the Fairfield County Detention Center, where he spent the rest of the night, missing Fairfield Central’s 41-3 loss to Dillon. The report listed the total weight of marijuana found in Toney’s car at 7.9 grams.

Terrell Roach, Athletic Director at Fairfield Central, said the team obviously missed Toney’s energy and enthusiasm on the sidelines Friday night, but Demetrius Davis, the Griffins’ head coach, said his staff should have been able to compensate for the absence.

“I don’t know if that affected us or not,” Davis said. “He was not here, but offensively, we just didn’t help us. We had some guys who were capable of running the defense, and I think they did a pretty decent job. Any time you’re missing a coach you’re going to have those problems.”

J.R. Green, Superintendent of Fairfield County Schools, said Friday that he was “very disappointed” at the news of Toney’s arrest.

“I expected him to be on the team bus, quite frankly,” Green said. “I wonder why he wasn’t on the team bus.”

Davis said later that it is not uncommon for at least some of his coaches to drive their personal vehicles to games.

“Normally, a couple of our coaches drive because we have extra equipment,” Davis said. “We have at least two coaches on the bus, but we’ve got 15 coaches, so a lot of times they do drive.”

Toney was released Saturday on a $620 bond, and on Monday Green said Toney had been placed on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of an investigation.

“We’re going to look at all the facts and give him an opportunity to give an account of the events,” Green said. “Then we’ll go from there.”

Toney has been with the Griffins for the last three seasons. He is also a math teacher at Fairfield Middle School, where he was the 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year.

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