Griffin playoff run comes to a halt

WINNSBORO – The Fairfield Central Griffins needed one-more to earn their place in the semi-finals of the 3A state playoffs, but in their way was the very tough one-seeded Emerald Vikings. Emerald struck first on the usually stout Griffins’ defense and did not look back on their way to a 28-14 victory.

Emerald looked for answers to the Griffins’ defense and struggled to find them at first, but near the end of the first quarter they solved the puzzle. Vikings’ running-back KeShawn Settles broke open the game’s scoring with a 27-yard rush, immediately followed by a 38-yard touchdown pass from Kedarren Dean to Zack Amerson.

Montavious Thompson (12) tries to make some space in the Vikings’ defense. | Joe Siebles

Less than two minutes later, the Vikings padded their lead with a quick two-play scoring drive. After a Griffins punt to the 50-yard line, Settles burned the Fairfield defense for a massive 48-yard touchdown.

Early in the second quarter, the Griffins looked for an answer and marched from their own 18-yard line to inside the Vikings’ 30. The promising drive was stymied when Jacob McManus was intercepted on a fourth down attempt from the Emerald 25-yard line.

Emerald did not capitalize on the interception, but they did tack on another score to go up 21-0 before the end of the half. Dean struck for his second touchdown pass of the night in the form of a 19-yard touchdown pass to Walter Gaskin with forty seconds left in the second quarter.

A Griffins’ fumble on their opening second half possession turned into more Vikings’ points. Emerald recovered the dropped ball on the Griffins’ 36, and Settles converted that into his second rushing touchdown of the night.

After the score, Emerald took a commanding 28-0 lead, but Fairfield had one last charge left.

During the next drive, Fairfield running back Will Barber did his best to get the Griffins back into the game. He bolted into the Vikings’ secondary for a 62-yard run and, on the next play, scored from 10 yards out.

Fairfield drew back within two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter after Theron Byrd tacked on an 18-yard rushing touchdown. That would be as close as the Griffins would come to the lead. The Vikings’ defense shut down the last ditch comeback efforts.

Emerald faces Chapman for a chance to compete in State Championship game.

Scoring

FCHS– 0–0-7-7-14

EHS 14-7-7-0-28

First Quarter

EHS – Zack Amerson 38 pass from Kedarren Dean (Peyton Smith kick). 3:03

EHS – Keshawn Settles 48 run (P.Smith kick). :48.

Second Quarter

EHS – Walter Gaskin 19 pass from Kendarren Dean (P.Smith kick). :38.

Third Quarter

EHS – K.Settles 8 run (P.Smith kick). 7:28.

FCHS – Will Barber 10 run (Antonio Aguilera kick). 5:13.

Fourth Quarter

FCHS – Theron Byrd 18 run (A.Aguilera kick).10:56.

TEAM STATS             FCHS                       EHS

First Downs               12                          10

Rushes/Yards            37-187                 46-292

Passing Yards            37                            56

C-A-I-TD                     4-37-1-0              2-3-0-2

Fumbles/ Lost          1/1                            2/0

Penalties/Yards       2-12                       0-99

INDIVIDUAL STATS

Rushing:   FCHS – Tony Ruff 7-6,Montavious Thompson 5-22,  Jacob McManus 2-9, Dorian Glenn 5-22, Jamon Jackson 7-31, Will Barber 6-96, Theron Byrd 5-51. EHS – Keshawn Settles 35-214, Kendarren Dean 2-9, Treshawn Chamberlain 9-69.

Receiving:  FCHS – Tony Ruff 1-6, JR Edmonds 2-25, Jamon Jackson 1-3. EHS – Zack Amerson 1-37, Will Gaskin 1-19.

Passing: FCHS – Jacob McManus 4-18, 39 yards, one interception; Montavious Thompson 0-1; Theron Byrd 0-8. EHS – Kendarren Dean 2-3, 56 yards, two touchdowns.

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