Griffins Get in Preseason Road Work

Shadarius Hopkins breaks away with a McManus pass. (Photo/Kristy Kimball Massey)

LEWISVILLE – The Fairfield Central Griffins traveled to Lewisville High School last week to take part in a joint 7-on-7 passing workout with South Pointe, Providence (Charlotte, N.C.) and their gracious hosts. Head coach Demetrius Davis came away pleased from the workout, but said he realizes a lot of work remains between now and opening night.

“We got some good work in,” Davis said. “I think we got a little better from it.”

With the quarterback question still unsolved, Davis made sure both candidates for the position – Markel Whitaker, a rising senior and Stanley McManus, a rising sophomore – got a healthy look. Whitaker took about 40 percent of the snaps on July 10, Davis said, with McManus taking the rest. Making a choice for starter, Davis said, might come down to the last Thursday before the first Friday of the season.

“I would feel good about either one of them as the guy,” Davis said. “It comes down to who is going to progress the most. Whoever we start in week zero, I’m hoping will be a different guy at week five.”

The receiving corps is young, Davis said, “and in some aspects, that’s good – a year or two from now. We’ve got a lot of guys who are not game-tested yet.”

That test will come soon enough, with a schedule that opens up on Aug. 22 at Brookland-Cayce, followed by a road trip to Chester.

“This is going to be one of those years where we have to take a few licks early,” Davis said. “But I would rather take them early than late.”

While the 7-on-7 action is focused mainly on the offense, the defensive backfield gets a workout as well, and there the Griffins are strong. Shadarius Hopkins, Byron Sampson and Josh Bell all return experience and leadership to the defense. But with a new defensive scheme being inserted this year, even the traditionally stingy defense may face some challenges.

Davis and his staff have about 30 days to sort it all out. Meanwhile, the Griffins will travel to Irmo Saturday for a 7-on-7 tournament, beginning at 9:30 a.m.