Griffins Blank Cyclones


Fairfield Central’s Jerrell Suber-O’Neal (22) finds running room against the Chester defense. (Photo/Joe Seibles)

CHESTER – After coming up on the short end of the double overtime stick last week, the Fairfield Central Griffins hurled a shutout against their arch-rivals, steamrolling the Cyclones at Chester Friday night 29-0.

In an eerie flashback to last week’s 29-28 2OT loss at Brookland-Cayce, Friday night’s scoreboard also lit up for the first time with a safety against the home team. On Chester’s first play from scrimmage, at their own 11, a high snap sailed over the head of quarterback Tommy Sanders, sending the senior scrambling into the end zone where he was brought down by the Griffin defense.

Fairfield head coach Demetrius Davis, a self-confessed superstitious football man, said he cringed more than a little on the sidelines as he watched the Griffins go up 2-0 with 10:25 left in the opening quarter. But the similarities to the week zero road loss ended there as the Griffin defense stifled the Cyclone running game and kept Sanders on the ropes for 48 full minutes.

“We got a shutout on the road against a good 3A football team,” Davis said. “(Senior linebacker) Chris Boyd played lights-out tonight. That’s what you need – a guy who can set the edge on an athletic quarterback. That Tommy Sanders kid can run around for days back there.”

The bulk of Sanders’ running was east to west, however, as the Griffin defense limited his north-south movement to just 7 first-half yards on nine carries and 25 yards total on 22 attempts. Jayln Reid broke his first run of the night for 51 large yards, moving Chester from their own 10 to the Griffin 39, but after that he was all single digits, finishing the night with 74 yards on nine carries.

The Griffins’ ground game, on the other hand, was consistent and concise, led by Joseph Young’s 152 yards on 20 carries – a marked improvement over last week’s 106 yards on 30 tries.

“We were tossing the ball last week and we thought that was taking too long to develop, so we handed it off a little bit more and I think that made a difference,” Davis said. “It got him downhill faster.”

Young punched in the first Griffin touchdown of the night, capping a seven-play, 61-yard drive with a 3-yard run. Isias Leon’s point after put Fairfield up 9-0 with 7:43 to go in the first period.

The Cyclones pinned Fairfield Central back deep with a late first-quarter punt, forcing the Griffins to hammer the ball from their own 19 across midfield and into Chester territory. Sophomore quarterback Stanley McManus completed the 81-yard tour with a punishing 6-yard run into the end zone. Leon again added the kick, putting the Griffins up 16-0 with 8:33 left before the half.

“He’s a lot more athletic than people give him credit for,” Davis said of his young quarterback. “He can run a lot better than people think he can. If we can just keep the chains moving, we don’t need to score 50-60 points every game. All we need to do is keep the chains moving, 5-10 yards a pop.”

And the chains kept moving all night long for the Griffins, with the offensive line providing an earth-mover like push against the Chester defensive front. That push helped propel the Griffins on another long scoring drive just before the half, with the ground attack stampeding from the Fairfield 14 down to the Chester 15, devouring nearly 5 full minutes off the clock along the way.

Shadarius Hopkins rang the closing bell, taking the pitch from McManus on the end-around just in front of the Chester sidelines and sweeping back across the backfield and into the end zone for 6. The point after went wide, and the Griffins took a 22-0 lead into the break.

Hopkins tacked on the final score of the night for the Griffins midway through the third quarter as Fairfield once more marched nearly the length of the field to deliver the goods. Starting on their own 11 with 10:01 on the clock, the Griffins used just six plays to shove the ball to the Chester 21. On the next snap, McManus dropped back and nailed Hopkins in the left corner of the paint. Leon’s kick was true, and with 6:44 remaining in the third, the Griffins stood atop a 29-0 mountain from which they would not descend.

After opening with back-to-back road games, the Griffins return home next week to host the Knights of Crestwood High School. The 3A Knights opened their season Friday with a 48-29 road loss to Sumter.


FC—9-13-7-0 – 29

C—0-0-0-0 – 0


First Quarter

FC – Team safety. (10:25)

FC – Joseph Young 3-run. Isias Leon kick. (7:43)

Second Quarter

FC – Stanley McManus 6-run. I. Leon kick. (8:33)

FC – Shadarius Hopkins 15-run. Kick failed. (0:29)

Third Quarter

FC – S. Hopkins 21-pass from S. McManus. I. Leon kick. (6:44)


Team Stats

                                                                FC                                           C

First Downs                                        18                                           11

Rushes/Yards                                    49-298                                   33-106

Passing Yards                                     69                                           73

C-A-I                                                      5-9-0                                      6-14-0

Fumbles/Lost                                    0-0                                          2-1

Penalties/Yards                                 6-55                                       3-25


Individual Stats

RUSHING: FC—Joseph Young 20-152, Stanley McManus 15-66, Shadarius Hopkins 2-17, Josh Bell 4-23, Markell Whitaker 1-5, Jerrell SUber-O’Neal 5-28, Chad Sampson 2-7. C—Jayln Reid 9-74, Tommy Sanders 22-25, Javarious Gregory 1-2, Stanley Yarborough 1-5.

RECEIVING: FC—Markell Whitaker 1-6, Byron Sampson 1-13, Shadarius Hopkins 2-38, Joseph Young 1-12. C—Isaiah McCree 1-5, M. Halsey 2-49, Javarious Gregory 1-4, Earl Hinton 2-15.

PASSING: FC—Stanley McManus 5-8, 69 yards, TD; Markell Whitaker 0-1. C—Tommy Sanders 6-14, 73 yards.

RECORDS: FC 1-1, CHS 1-1.

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