Ruff Night for the Raiders

Sophomore Running Back Propels Griffins to Win

 

Tony Ruff (29) cuts back into the Keenan defense. (Photo/Joe Seibles)

Tony Ruff (29) cuts back into the Keenan defense. (Photo/Joe Seibles)

COLUMBIA – Maybe Fairfield Central’s offense didn’t bring their ‘A’ game into Bolden Stadium Friday night. Head coach Demetrius Davis certainly didn’t think so. But his defense dug their heels in firmly enough to shut out the Keenan Raiders, while a pair of touchdown runs from Tony Ruff and a late run by Chad Sampson was all the Griffins needed for the 22-0 Region III win.

Ruff banged out 134 yards on 14 carries, driving the Griffin offense on a night when the offense just wasn’t quite clicking.

“We played like we practiced,” Davis said. “We didn’t prepare good and we didn’t play good. And that starts with the coaching. They out-played us. I wasn’t expecting them to out-play us. Up front, I think we thought we were better than we are up front, and they showed us tonight that we’re not that good. We’ve got a lot of work to do. “

Both teams fought to a standstill after one quarter as the defenses kept the scoreboard clean. As the quarter expired, the Griffins launched what would ultimately amount to the game-winning drive, marching from their 17 to the Keenan 23 with Ruff doing most of the heavy lifting. The sophomore running back reaped the rewards for his efforts, taking the give from Stanley McManus on second-and-5 and blasting into the end zone. Austin Gregory’s point after gave the Griffins a 7-0 lead with 10:02 left in the half.

Keenan threatened on their next possession. Starting from their 26, quarterback Majerle Poole hit Thurman Trapp with a rocket at the Raider 41, then Quintarje Carolina took three straight carries down to the Griffin 28. Back-to-back penalties against the Griffins spotted the ball at the Fairfield Central 10 where the Raiders set up shop with a first-and-5. Poole was then thrown for a 3-yard loss, but the Raiders recovered as Tyrieck Davis-Newton mashed the ball down to the Griffin 6. Facing a third-and-1, the Griffins defense hammered Carolina for a 3-yard loss to make it fourth-and-4.

The Raiders sent in their field goal unit for a 26-yard attempt, but Troy Brown’s kick sailed wide left. The Griffins had escaped Keenan’s first and only real scoring menace of the game.

“Our defense played good,” Davis said. “My hat’s off to them. They did a great job of shutting them out. If they didn’t, we would have been in trouble.”

The missed field goal gave the Griffins the ball at their own 20 with 5:30 to go before the break. On the first snap of the series, Ruff took the handoff and broke off the right tackle, exploding into the secondary. Ruff hit his stride at mid-field, breaking a shoestring tackle and racing 80-yards for the score.

The Griffins faked the PAT kick, with McManus picking his hold up off the ground in front of Gregory and lofting a 2-point conversion to Maurice Pauling, giving the Griffins a 15-0 lead.

That’s where the score would stay for much of the rest of the game as the defenses clamped down.

“We weren’t getting the push (on the offensive line),” Davis said. “We got out-played. Jokers were coming off blocks. They deserved to beat us tonight the way we played. We’ve got to regroup, we’ve got to go watch this film and we’ve got to get better. We’ve got to do a better job of coaching, we’ve got to do a better job of playing.”

Late in the contest, the Griffins took advantage of a missed Keenan gamble to tack on the final TD.

With just over 3 minutes left in the game, Keenan risked a fourth-and-8 try from their own 17. Poole’s pass fell incomplete and Fairfield Central took over in the red zone.

The Raider defense didn’t give in so easily, forcing a fourth-and-2 on the drive, but McManus bowled his way to the Keenan 5 on the quarterback keeper, setting up Sampson’s 5-yard flourish. Gregory was true on the PAT for the 22-0 final.

Keenan falls to 2-2 in region play; 4-4 overall. The Griffins take their 5-0 region record (8-1 overall) into Mid-Carolina next week for the regular season finale.

“Mid-Carolina is a good football team,” Davis said. “(Keenan) beat them in a close football game (19-17 on Sept. 25), but any time you’re playing on the road, it’s tough.”

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

 

FC: 0-15-0-7 – 22

K: 0-0-0-0 – 0

 

Scoring

Second Quarter

FC – Tony Ruff 23 run (Austin Gregory kick). 10:02.

FC – T. Ruff 80 run (Maurice Pauling 3 pass from Stanley McManus). 5:14.

Fourth Quarter

FC – Chad Sampson 5 run (Austin Gregory kick). 1:50.

 

Team Stats

FC                                           K

First Downs                                        9                                              10

Rushes-Yards                                     33-158                                   32-120

Passing Yards                                     63                                           67

C-A-I                                                      6-14-1                                   6-24-2

Fumbles-Lost                                     0-0                                          0-0

Penalties-Yards                                 8-75                                       10-90

 

Individual Stats

RUSHING: K – Myles Adams 2-0, T. Davis-Newton 11-56, T. Peterson 3-6, Q. Carolina 5-31, M. Poole 9-23, T. Trapp 1-4. FC – Jerrell Suber-O’Neal 10-23, Chad Sampson 2-1, Stanley McManus 7-0, Tony Ruff 14-134.

PASSING: K – M. Poole 6-22, 67 yards, INT; T. Trapp 0-2, 0 yards, INT. FC – Stanley McManus 6-14, 63 yards, INT.

RECEIVING: K – T. Trapp 2-15, T. Davis-Newton 1-10, Q. Carolina 2-31, Jalon Wilson 1-11. FC – Jerrell Suber-O’Neal 1-12, Raekwon Butler 2-13, Qua’terrious Thompson 1-26, Vernard Hall 1-9.

RECORDS: K – 4-4/2-2. FC – 8-1/5-0.