Griffins struggle in Georgia

JOHN’S CREEK, GA – The 2018 Fairfield football campaign began beyond state borders in John’s Creek, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. The Griffins punched the Gladiators in the mouth early in the first quarter, but could not string together any momentum and John’s Creek pulled away in the second half to an emphatic 48-20 blowout.

The Griffins traveled to John’s Creek a day early to practice and experience some of Atlanta. | @Griffins_FB

After a couple of early defensive stalemates, Will Barbed fielded a Gladiators punt, and sped past the bewildered John’s Creek Special Teams unit en route to a 63-yard touchdown. It took the Gladiators nearly four minutes to knot the game up back up at 6-6 courtesy of a Zach Gibson pass to Quincy Darnell. Nate Hope, the Gladiators’ star tailback, helped set the scoring pass up with a couple of solid runs.

John’s Creek pushed to the lead to 14-6 late in the first quarter after another Gibson to Darnell touchdown connection. Hope continued to make his presence felt from the backfield, and early in the second quarter, he maneuvered past the defense for a 34-yard touchdown.

The Griffins trailed 20-6 until a little over the midway point of the second. Then Chris Suber capped off one of their two most fruitful possessions with a one-yard carry that broke the goal line. Jacob McManus took a rough hit on the same drive and had to be taken off of the field in an ambulance.

McManus was diagnosed with a bruise to the back of the neck and cleared on Wednesday for action in this week’s game.

Unfortunately for the Griffins, a 31-yard Neil Ilenrey punt-return touchdown with 54 seconds left in the half dampened any of their momentum.

Gibson took advantage took of the Griffins being on the ropes. Just 30 seconds into the second half he rung up seemingly his favorite target, Quincy Darnell for their third touchdown of connection of the game.

Fairfield had a continued struggle keeping a lid on Nate Hope, and he struck again in the third. He scampered in for a 22-yard score at the eight-minute mark and pushed the Gladiator lead to 41-14.

Freshman Griffin quarterback Stephon Gadsden found his first taste of the end-zone early in the fourth quarter on a five-yard sneak, but the Gladiators had a quick response. A couple of minutes later, Gibson answered with a three-yard rushing touchdown of his own.

The Griffins head to Lancaster for week two action.

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