Griffins deliver Camden’s first loss

WINNSBORO – The Fairfield Central Griffins defeated the Camden Bulldogs in dramatic walk-off fashion on Friday evening as senior defensive back, Marcus Alston, blocked the Bulldogs 30-yard field goal attempt as time expired, preserving the Griffins 21-20 victory. The win moved Fairfield Central to 4-4 overall and 2-0 in region play while Camden was dealt its first defeat of 2019, falling to 6-1 and 0-1 in region play.

“I tell you, the Newberry win taking us to the State Championship may be just a little bit sweeter because it was for the Upper State Championship,” said head coach Demetrius Davis when asked where this win ranks in his coaching career, assistant and head. “For this crowd, the Homecoming crowd, to be able to beat an undefeated, No. 3 ranked team in the state, this is just unbelievable.”

Will Barber (4) racked up 88 yards on 14 carries in a dramatic Homecoming win over Camden. | Joe Seibles

Camden went 64 yards in three plays to open the contest, the PAT attempt was no good and the Bulldogs led 6-0. The Griffins answered with the next 14 points of the game, the first touchdown capped an 11-play, 72-yard drive. The score came on a 19-yard touchdown strike from Jacob McManus to Justice Boyd making it 7-6.

Following a three-and-out, the Bulldogs they were forced to punt. A bad snap and pressure by Griffins’ defense led to the punter throwing an incomplete pass rather than getting the punt blocked. Fairfield Central took over at the Camden 37-yard line, and six plays later the Griffins were in the end zone again. This time it was Chris Suber rushing in from one-yard out, his first of two touchdowns.

The defenses held strong in the second quarter, but, following a Griffins three-and-out to start the second half, Camden was able to put the ball back in the end zone with a six-play, 69-yard drive. It was capped by a one-yard rushing score by the Bulldogs.

Camden took the lead with 5:08 left in the game, making it 20-14. Fairfield Central responded immediately with a seven-play, 56-yard scoring strike. Suber took this touchdown in from four-yards out. Following the PAT, the Griffins led 21-20.

The dramatics followed as the Bulldogs got the ball with 2:22 to play in the contest and drove down the field quickly. Camden drove 52 yards on nine plays, with 24 of the 52 yards coming on the ground. Alston then came up with the game-winning blocked field goal from 30 yards out.

“It gives us a chance to put the ball in their hands more,” said Davis in reference to his team’s new offensive approach after the injury to Gadsden. “I won’t say that it is a blessing, but just making the best of a bad situation.”

Will Barber led the way on the ground for the Griffins with 88 yards on 14 carries while Suber had 61 yards on 13 carries with two scores to lead the ground attack for Fairfield Central. In his second straight start at quarterback McManus went 3-6 passing for 30 yards and one score. Ray Davis (13) and Curtis Brown (11) were the top tacklers for the Griffins. Those questions have yet to be answered.