Defense Lifts Griffins Over Newberry

Fairfield Central's Dorian Glenn brings down Newberry QB Tyriq Goodman. (Photo/DeAnna Robinson)

Fairfield Central’s Dorian Glenn brings down Newberry QB Tyriq Goodman. (Photo/DeAnna Robinson)

NEWBERRY (Sept. 19, 2016) – There are games one circles on the schedule each season, games one cannot afford to miss; matchups that never fail, year after year, to earn their way into the panoply of high school football history.

Fairfield Central and Newberry High School has traditionally been just such contest, and Friday night the Griffins and the Bulldogs once more did not disappoint.

Locked in a defensive struggle for more than three quarters, the Griffins (3-2) squeezed out a 20-7 win over the Dogs at Setzler Field on the campus of Newberry College.

“I told the guys, if we can come out of here with a 2-0 win, I’ll take it,” Griffins head coach Demetrius Davis said after the game. “We’ve got a lot of offensive linemen out. We’re just a dadgum M*A*S*H unit right now, and I’m just happy we won. I feel like we haven’t won a game in 20 years.”

The Griffins were indeed coming off back-to-back losses coming into Newberry – a 35-14 loss to Blythewood on Sept. 2 and a close 22-20 loss to Ridge View last week. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, came into Friday’s showdown reasonably inflated from their 32-18 win over Chapin last week.

After a scoreless first quarter Friday, Newberry (3-2) found themselves pinned at their own 13 facing fourth-and-long. Ethan Day’s punt was partially deflected, giving the Griffins a 40-yard field with which to work.

The Bulldog defense forced a fourth-and-1 from the Newberry 31, but the Griffins put the ball into the hands of Jerrell Suber-O’Neal, who mashed his way down to the Newberry 27 for the first down.

Quarterback Stanley McManus then found Ah’Quil Ross at the Newberry 12, and Tony Ruff hammered his way to the Bulldog 4. On second-and-2, Ruff pounded the rock home for the first points of the game. The point after kick by McManus veered wide right, but the Griffins were up 6-0 with 9:30 left in the half.

And then all was silent, from the offensive standpoint.

Newberry mounted one last attack before the break, with quarterback Tyriq Goodman and running back Amir Abrams leading the charge from the Bulldog 43 down to the Fairfield Central 33. But on second-and-11, Quay McBride picked off a Goodman pass at the Griffins 26 to snuff out the threat.

“We were hoping we could come out and get a touchdown that first drive of the second half, but we didn’t,” Davis said. “Defensively, they got after us. They got after us where we were vulnerable.”

While the offenses struggled to gain traction, the Griffins’ defense would put the next points on the board.

With less than 10 minutes left in the game, the Bulldog were facing a third-and-14 from their own 22. Goodman was forced out of the pocket, scrambled and was brought down by the Griffins defense near the 15-yard line. On his way to the ground, Goodman spit up the ball. Daryl Camack scooped it up and raced into the end zone.

“That was huge,” Davis said. “We needed that.”

The 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete, but the Griffins had extended their lead to 12-0 with 9:03 left on the clock.

The Bulldogs, however, are not lapdogs. They took the ensuing kickoff at their own 38 and Goodman went to work. On third-and-10 from the Newberry 35, Goodman launched a rocket to Jaleel Gillam who took it down to the Griffins 9 for a first-and-goal. Two plays later, Abrams drove it home from 1 yard out.

Day’s kick cut the Griffins’ lead to 12-7 with 6:50 left in the game.

Fairfield Central sealed the deal on their next drive, however.

Setting up shop at their own 38 after the kick, Ruff did the heavy lifting as the Griffins punched away to the Newberry 43. Then, on third-and-8, McManus sizzled a 43-yard pass to Ross down the right hash and into the paint for 6. McManus and Ross hooked up again on the 2-point conversion for the 20-7 final with 5:17 still to go.

Newberry still had chances to take the game to the wire, but their next drive was stymied by the Griffin defense when Goodman’s pass on fourth-and-8 from the Fairfield 37 fell incomplete.

Their next shot went to waste when Goodman fumbled again at the Newberry 39 with 2:36 to go. Their final drive ended when Goodman’s pass to Gillam on fourth-and-10 fell one yard shy of the marker as time ran down.

The Griffins travel to Columbia this Friday to take on A.C. Flora. Out of 4A-Region V, Flora (1-3) has played it close in all four of their games to start the 2016 season. They fell on the road at Woodruff 36-24 in the opener and lost to Lexington 20-17 on Aug. 25. On Sept. 9, they edged out Lugoff-Elgin 13-12 on the road, and are coming off a 7-3 loss last week at home to Richland Northeast.

Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium on S. Holly St., near Owens Field, in Columbia.

 

FC: 0-6-0-14 – 20

N: 0-0-0-7 – 7

 

SCORING

Second Quarter

FC – Tony Ruff 4 run (kick failed). 9:30.

Fourth Quarter

FC – Daryl Camack 15 fumble return (pass failed). 9:03.

N – Amir Abrams 1 run (Ethan Day kick). 6:50.

FC – Ah’Quil Ross 43 pass from Stanley McManus (A. Ross 3 pass from S. McManus). 5:17.

 

TEAM STATS

FC                                           N

First Downs                        8                                              13

Rushes-Yards                     35-76                                     34-88

Passing Yards                     119                                         182

C-A-I                                      10-18-0                                 13-32-1

Fumbles-Lost                     1-1                                          2-2

Penalties-Yards                 8-70                                       8-65

 

INDIVIDUAL STATS

RUSHING: FC – Stanley McManus 10-3, Ah’Quil Ross 1-1, Rodriguez Edmonds 2-6, Tony Ruff 9-45, Jerrell Suber-O’Neal 13-21. N – Amir Abrams 21-49, Tony Mason 2-0, Tyriq Goodman 11-39.

RECEIVING: FC – James Goins 3-15, Ah’Quil Ross 3-69, Rodric Woodard 1-21, Antonio Jackson 3-14. N – R.J. Wadsworth 6-75, Jaleel Gillam 3-50, Amir Abrams 2-21, Z. Epps 1-9, Bradley Love 1-28.

PASSING: FC – Stanley McManus 10-18, 119 yards, TD. N – Tyriq Goodman 13-32, 182 yards, INT.