Griffins Plow Through Pups

Joseph Young racks up the miles on the Newberry defense. (Photo/DeAnna Robinson)

Fairfield Central-33, Newberry-8

NEWBERRY – The highly anticipated showdown between two of the state’s most widely regarded 2A powers, both jockeying for the Region III pole position, devolved into a classic beat-down Friday night as Fairfield Central dismantled the Newberry High School Bulldogs 33-8 on the Bulldogs’ home turf.

The Griffin defense squashed the Newberry running game, holding the Yafari Werts-Omar Sims-Chad Wadsworth combo to just 130 total yards combined, while muzzling the Werts passing game to a meager 22 total yards. Throw in a few bad snaps from center, a couple of turnovers, a muffed punt, an un-fielded kickoff and 130 yards in penalties, and you have the potion that turned the Dogs into whipped pups.

“We got lucky by having a bye week,” head coach Demetrius Davis said, whose Griffins enjoyed an open spot on the schedule leading up to Friday night’s contest. “We had two weeks to prepare for these guys. My coaching staff – my hat goes off to those guys. Coach (Jason) Hatcher, coach (Scotty) Dean, coach (Kenny) Atkerson, coach (Greg) Wright – those guys studied the film.

“We knew what they liked to do,” Davis said. “Our kids knew what to expect and we were just fundamentally doggone sound. We had a whole two weeks to be fundamentally sound and we knew if we played assignment football, if everybody did their jobs, squeeze on the down blocks, fill the holes, we were going to have chance to win the football game.”

The Griffins offense, propelled by a 133-yard night from running back Joseph Young, pounced on the Dogs on their first possession, taking the short field and capping the 53-yard drive with Young’s 2-yard scoring run. Isias Leon’s extra point boot gave the Griffins their first taste of blood and a 7-0 lead with 8:34 to go in the opening quarter.

Leon extended that lead to 10-0 halfway through the second frame with a 33-yarder through the uprights, and Shadarius Hopkins made it 17-0 just before the half, snagging a Stanley McManus pass from 12 yards out with 1 second left on the clock. Hopkins’ grab topped off a drive that began back on the Fairfield 12 with 2:31 to play, the longest march of the night for the Griffins.

Down only 17 at the break, and with an entire half of football left to play, the potent Newberry offense had every reason to believe a rally was within their reach. And with the Dogs set to receive the second-half kickoff, a momentum swing would only be a few big plays away.

The kick was short of the deep men, yet Newberry’s Ryshun Gallman let the live ball drop over his head and roll on the turf like a loose grenade. The Griffins fell on it at once, recovering the ball at the Newberry 13 to the astonishment of the home crowd. Two plays later, McManus blasted his way into the end zone from 10 yards out, and Leon’s point after made it 24-0 Fairfield.

Newberry managed one first down on their ensuing possession, but got no further than their own 40 before facing a fourth-and-9. Shadarius Hopkins fielded the Newberry punt at the Fairfield 26, cut to the far side of the field and raced down the visitors’ sidelines into the end zone. The 74-yard return and Leon’s kick made it 31-0 with 8:59 to play in the third. The sudden and rapid-fire points thoroughly and completely drained virtually all remaining life from the Bulldogs, and the game was essentially over.

“People always say the most important part of the game is the last 5 minutes before half and the first minute after halftime,” Davis said, “and for that to happen right after halftime, that was the ballgame.”

The Dogs spoiled the shutout with 3:38 left in the third on a 1-yard run by Werts, which put the icing on a 75-yard drive that ate 5:17 off the clock. A late safety, when the snap from the Newberry 15 sailed over the head of the Bulldogs’ punter and out of the back of the end zone, ended the scoring with 3:18 left in the game.

“To be able to come do this in their stadium is impressive,” Davis said. “If you do this at home, you’re supposed to do that at home; but for us to come on the road and beat a good, quality 5-1 football team, the number 5 team in the state, this should give us a little momentum to get a little better.”

The win puts the Griffins in the driver’s seat in Region III, with a 3-0 region record and a 6-1 mark overall. Fairfield travels to Pelion next week to face the Panthers, who are 2-1 in region play after defeating Columbia Friday night, 23-14.

“It’s going to be tough,” Davis said. “They’ve got one of the best players in the state in Freddie Phillips, a Shrine Bowl kid. The one thing we cannot allow this football game to do is to let us get complacent. The region is not over yet, and we’re playing for a much bigger picture than a region championship.”

 

FC: 7-10-14-2 – 33

N: 0-0-8-0 – 8

 

Scoring

First Quarter

FC – Joseph Young 2 run (Isias Leon kick). 8:34.

Second Quarter

FC – I. Leon 33 FG. 6:50.

FC – Shadarius Hopkins 12 pass from Stanley McManus (I. Leon kick). 0:01.

Third Quarter

FC – S. McManus 10 run (I. Leon kick). 11:17.

FC – S. Hopkins 74 punt return (I. Leon kick). 8:59.

N – Yafari Werts 1 run (Y. Werts run). 3:38.

Fourth Quarter

FC – Team safety. 3:10.

 

Team Stats

                                                FC                           N

First Downs                        14                           11

Rushes/Yards                    45-190                   32-140

Passing Yards                     82                           22

C-A-INT                              5-9-0                      3-12-0

Fumbles/Lost                    1-0                          3-2

Penalties/Yards               10-65                     12-130

 

Individual Stats

RUSHING: FC – Stanley McManus 10-(-3), Joseph Young 25-133, Josh Bell 4-38, Nick Rikard 1-9, Jarrell Suber-O’Neal 2-12, Chad Sampson 2-0, Shadarius Hopkins 1-2. N – Omar Sims 6-27, Chris Wadsworth 5-24, Yafari Werts 18-79, Ryshun Gallman 1-7, Josh Davis 1-1, K.J. Fields 1-2.

RECEIVING: FC – Tykedrist Gibson 1-14, Byron Sampson 1-5, Markell Whitaker 1-27, Joseph Young 1-24, Shadarius Hopkins 1-12. N – Cedric Gallman 1-9, Josh Davis 1-8, Sharif Glymph 1-5.

PASSING: FC – Stanley McManus 5-9, 82 yards, TD. N – Yafari Werts 3-12, 22 yards.

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