Fairfield escapes first round

WINNSBORO – The number one-seeded Griffins held on in a close contest against Indian Land, and opened the playoffs with another nail-biter against Southside. The Tigers came in a four-seed but gave the Griffins everything they could handle. The Griffins were too much for Southside and were able to pull off the 29-22 win.

“I think they played the way most teams do in the playoffs,” Griffins’ head coach Demetrius Davis said. “Guys come; they don’t want to go home. They came back and we turned the football over. That gave them opportunities to stay in the game.”

The Tigers’ defense held steady in the first quarter and pitched a shutout, including an interception by defensive back Marc Smith. But Fairfield’s defense was equally potent.

Jamon Jackson (3) shows his tenacity and strength by staying on his feet despite two Tigers attempting to fight him down. | Photo: DeAnna Robinson

Southside managed a threatening drive that included a couple of 15-plus yard screen passes and worked themselves inside the Fairfield 26. The Griffin defense rose-up and stuffed a fourth-down attempt to shut the drive down.

Montavious Thompson ended the scoreless affair just twenty seconds into the second quarter. Thompson fielded a Tigers’ punt at his own 40 and skirted past the special teams for a 60-yard touchdown return.

Fairfield used a bit of trickery on their next drive to extend the lead to two touchdowns. Griffins’ quarterback Jacob McManus pitched the ball to JR Edmonds, and then Edmonds hoisted the ball up to Jamas Goins for a 70-yard score.

“We had practiced it for about two weeks and hadn’t had a chance to run it,” Davis said. “We pretty much knew we were going to run it Friday night, and we were able to call it at a good time and execute it.”

After the beautiful Griffin flea-flicker, it looked like their 14-0 lead would stand at halftime. But McManus was intercepted for the second-time with 48 seconds left in the first half. Southside quarterback Jalon Calhoun put the Tigers into prime scoring position with a 22-yard pass on the first play after the interception.

A couple of plays later, Calhoun hit Jayden Shell for an eight-yard touchdown. Then Calhoun converted the two-point attempt with a quarterback keeper. That score was the last action of the first half.

Fairfield came charging out after the break and got the ball down inside the Southside 15, but a Tigers fumble recovery abruptly ended the possession. Southside could not turn the fumble into anything, and as they attempted to punt the ball back, the Griffins stuffed the punt.

The rejected punt left the Griffins looming at the Tigers’ end-zone, and Jamon Jackson scored just one play into the drive. Jackson’s four-yard touchdown stretched the Fairfield lead to 21-8, but Southside fired back with a score to lead off the fourth.

After driving late in the third quarter, the Tigers pulled back within five with a five-yard Jalon Calhoun rushing touchdown and another successful two-point conversion. The Tigers forced a punt on the next Fairfield drive, but a running into kicker penalty kept the Griffin drive alive.

The penalty turned out to be costly for the Tigers. The Griffins were able to score again on a 46-yard bomb from McManus to Edmonds. McManus connected with Montavious Thompson on a two-point conversion pass and pulled ahead 29-16.

Calhoun refused to let the Tigers go down without fight and completed a 58-yard pass on the next drive. He eventually finished the drive with a 17-yard scramble, and Southside was back within a touchdown.

The Griffins needed a first down on their next drive to put Southside away, but the Tigers’ defense forced a quick fourth-and-one. Fairfield attempted a fake punt and got enough for the first, but a holding penalty brought it back.

The penalty forced the Griffins to punt the ball, and Southside took over at their own-37 with 2:09 left. A couple of short runs moved them closer to midfield, but they quickly fell to a fourth-and-sixteen.

Calhoun hoisted a deep pass, but the ball was intercepted by the Griffins. Confusion ensued. The referee on the field signaled for a blocking in the back on the interception return which was the correct call, but another official announced a pass interference penalty on the Griffins. Southside thought their drive was still alive.

However, the interception stood and the Griffins took a knee to end the game.

Fairfield moves on to the second round of the Region 3A State Playoffs and faces a familiar opponent in Newberry High School. The two faced off in week six, and Newberry escaped with a 22-21 win.

“We’re a totally different team now than we were then,” Davis said. “We’re playing a different quarterback, we got two offensive lineman that were playing JV at the time. We don’t have to be the best team, we just have to be the best team Friday.”

Scoring

FCHS– 0–14-7-8-29

SS– 0-8-8-6-22

 

SECOND QUARTER

FCHS – Montavious Thompson 60 punt return (Antonio Aguilera kick). 11:40

FCHS – JR Edmonds 70 pass to Jamas Goins (A.Aguilera kick). 9:09.

SS – Jayden Shell 8 from Jalon Calhoun (J.Calhoun two-point run).:16.

THIRD QUARTER

FCHS – Jamon Jackson 3 run ( A.Aguilera kick). 5:01.

SS – J.Calhoun 5 run (J.Calhoun two-point run).11:45.

Fourth Quarter

FCHS – JR Edmonds 46 pass from Jacob McManus (J.McManus to Montavious Thompson two-point pass).7:31.

SS – J.Calhoun 17 run (J.Calhoun two-point run no good). 5:19.

TEAM STATS           FCHS                        SS

First Downs             8                              12

Rushes/Yards          35-140                  26-117

Passing Yards          161                          223

C-A-I-TD                   9-15-2-2               23-38-1-1

Fumbles/ Lost        1/1                          3/3

Penalties/Yards      1-128                    9-81

INDIVIDUAL STATS

Rushing:   FCHS – Tony Ruff 15-43,Montavious Thompson 3-13,  Jacob McManus 3-21, Dorian Glenn 4-16, Jamon Jackson 10-47. SS -Zion Kelly 10-33, Jalon Calhoun 16-84.

Receiving:  FCHS – JR Edmonds 1-46,  Jamas Goins 3-76, Jamon Jackson 2-18, Montavious Thompson 3-21. SS – Tuzion Brock 10-112, Quintarius Jefferies 5-63, Marc Smith 2-20, Zion Kelly 5-20, Jayden Shell 1-8.

Passing: FCHS – Jacob McManus 8-14, 91 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions.; JR Edmonds 1-1 70 yards, one touchdown. SS – Jalon Calhoun 23-38, 223 yards, one touchdown, one interception.

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