Fairfield Central takes Cyclones by storm in county line battle
by Lucas Vance Staff Writer
WINNSBORO — Fairfield Central (3-0) remained undefeated Friday night with a 50-26 win over the Cyclones of Chester. Losing to their county line rival dropped Chester to 1-3 on the year.
The Griffins lit up the Chester defense with six rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown. Fairfield Central’s offense scored 50 points for the first time this season and are now averaging 42.3 points per game.
Following the win, Fairfield Central head coach Demetrius Davis said his offensive line was impressive against a bigger opponent.
“I think our guys up front did a good job of opening up holes,” he noted. “And our backs were able to get into a groove early and have success running the football.”
Chester’s offense was stonewalled by the Griffin defense, which only allowed 42 yards on the ground and limited Chester to only two third-down conversions.
Fairfield Central won the coin toss and elected to receive to start the game. Compton Walker returned the opening kickoff 40 yards to give the Griffins the ball at midfield. On the second play of the game, Tyren White picked up 22 yards on screen pass from DeAndre Belton.
Four of the next five plays called were running plays including the three-yard touchdown run by Larry. G. Bell. Bell’s touchdown capped off an eight play drive that went 51 yards. Walker completed a pass to Javahnne Neal for the two-point conversion, which opened up a 8-0 lead for the Griffins.
On Chester’s first offensive drive, quarterback Quan Caldwell was sacked by Byron Sampson on second down to help force a three-and-out.
The Griffins pressured Chester’s backs throughout the game and piled up a total of seven sacks.
“Our defense swarmed all night,” Davis said. “Khalil (Keitt), Davon (Pearson) and Wallace (Brown) have had a great to start the year and they’re really good football players. They’ve been a huge addition to our defensive line.”
Walker returned the punt 22 yards to the Chester 35-yard line. Operating on a short field, Fairfield Central would capitalize seven plays later with a Joseph Young touchdown run from 14 yards out on a third-down play.
On their way to score, the Griffins converted a fourth-down play when Belton completed a 10-yard pass to Kewan Squirewell. The extra point was good and halfway through first quarter Fairfield Central led 15-0.
On their ensuing possession, Chester would be forced to punt again after a Chanti Jones sack. However, the snap went over the punter’s head and Fairfield took over on Chester’s two-yard line.
On ext play Larry G. Bell ran untouched into the endzone. Just seven minutes into the ball game, the Griffins had shocked their county line rivals by taking a 22-0 lead.
After the game, Davis talked about the importance of momentum when playing a rival team.
“Momentum in this game is so big and that’s why we try to jump on teams fast,” he said. “Anytime our guys play Chester they get up for it.”
Both teams would trade punts at the end of the first quarter, and Chester would start their fourth drive backed up in the shadow of their own goal post to start the second quarter.
Deep in their own territory, the Cyclones converted a fourth-and-two to keep the drive alive. Four plays later Tommy Sanders connected with Daniel McClurkin for a 53-yard touchdown pass to cut the Fairfield lead to 22-7.
Just as the Cyclones had some momentum, the Griffins would demoralize Chester by scoring on their first play following the kickoff. Belton ran a read option play and came out of the gates like a race horse. He kept the ball and blew by all the Chester defenders down the numbers for a 60-yard touchdown to extend Fairfield’s lead to 29-7.
Answering that big play by Chester was a key play during the first half according to Davis.
“That 60-yard run by DeAndre was huge,” he stated. “Our defense had just given up a touchdown and that long score really swung the momentum back in our favor and took some of the air out of Chester.”
Two holding penalties stalled Chester’s ensuing drive and forced them to punt.
The Griffins’ offense kept its foot on the pedal on their next drive, by driving 66 yards in 10 plays for the score. Young scored his second touchdown after rushing off the left side from two yards out.
Jake Wright would chip into the Griffins’ lead, after nailing a 37-yard field goal to cap a seven-play drive for Chester.
With 11 seconds left in the half, the Griffins stole all the momentum back when Larry G. Bell punched in his third touchdown of the game to give the Griffins a 43-10 lead at the half.
The third quarter was scoreless, due in large part to a Shadarius Hopkins interception. It was his second of the season.
Hopkins’ interception gave the Griffins the ball at the Chester 17-yard line. Six seconds into the fourth quarter Squirewell caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Belton to extend the Griffins lead to 50-10.
With the game well in hand, Davis decided to give the varsity starters some rest and the fourth quarter belonged mostly junior varsity players. Chester scored two late touchdowns with a 57-yard reception by Earl Hinton and a 66-yard reception by Caldwell.
Defensively, Larry J. Bell led the Griffins in tackles with 12. Hopkins had two pass-breakups and an interception. Both Chanti Jones and Byron Sampson recorded two sacks each.
Fairfield Central will now turn its attention to the Yellow Jackets of Union County High School. The Griffins will travel to play Union County (0-3), who are coming off a 41-28 loss to Greer. Last year Union County defeated Fairfield 42-40 in a shootout.
“Next week is a big week for us,” Davis said. “It is a week that can make our season a good season or a great season. Every week the plot thickens and the next game is always the biggest game.”
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