WINNSBORO — Fairfield Central (5-0) recorded another big win Friday night with a 41-6 victory over the Braves of Cheraw (1-5). The Griffins only led 14-0 at the half, and head coach Demetrius Davis was not surprised by the Braves effort.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and honestly we didn’t play that well in the first half,” he said. “They’ve (Cheraw) got a good football team but don’t have the depth some teams have.”
The Griffins are averaging 40.6 points per game, while only allowing 15 points per game. Their average margin of victory is 25 points, with their smallest margin of 11 points coming against Westwood in the season opener.
Against Cheraw, the Griffins put up 458 yards of offense, with DeAndre Belton accounting for 272 (216 passing and 56 rushing).
Fairfield scored 27 points in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. After the game Davis said his offense was just taking what the Cheraw defense would allow.
“We were able to just come out and attack, attack and attack,” he noted. “They (Cheraw) ran an old bear defense with eight guys in the box and just one defender deep so we really couldn’t run the football. We knew we would have to throw in order to set up the run and that was the plan. We like to run the football but if the defense takes that away it is good to know that we can sling it around.”
Fairfield took the opening drive 56 yards in five plays to score a touchdown. Joseph Young scored off an eight-yard run over the left side. It would be his first of three touchdowns on the night.
Following the kickoff, Cheraw’s first drive stalled after picking up two first downs. The Braves were forced to punt after a Khalil Keitt sack on third down. Keitt started the game with 10 sacks (a Midlands high), and added to that with two more Friday night.
On the ensuing possession, the Griffins would turn the ball over on downs when Javahnne Neal came up one yard short on a fake punt.
On Cheraw’s second drive, Keitt would show up again with a sack forcing the Braves into a third and long situation, which they were unable to complete a pass deep down the field.
Following the punt, Fairfield would drive 72 yards in 14 plays for a touchdown. Halfway through the second quarter it would be Larry G. Bell scoring his only touchdown on a one-yard plunge. Fairfield Central led 14-0 at the break.
Cheraw was unable to muster any momentum as it went three-and-out to start the second half.
Fairfield Central’s first drive of the third quarter went 62 yards in five plays to extend their lead to 21-0. The drive was kept alive with a 32-yard reception by Tyren White on third down, and Young polished off the series with an elusive run over the right side from 16 yards out when he broke two tackles.
The Griffin defense would again force a punt after a three-and-out on the Braves ensuing possession. Cheraw finished the night 2-10 on third downs.
Fairfield struck quickly on their following series, that only lasted one minute and covered 94 yards. Belton completed a 59-yard pass to Javaris Cook down the left sideline and Cook slipped away from one tackle as he galloped into the end zone with his longest reception of the season. After a missed extra point, the Griffins led 27-0.
Just 90 seconds, Young crossed the goal line from 12 yards out. The big play of the drive came on the first play of the series, when Belton completed a 22-yard pass to Kewan Squirewell down the right sideline.
Trailing 34-0, Cheraw would shoot itself in the foot on their following possession. With Keitt draped around him, Cheraw quarterback Tristen Campbell threw an interception to Chris Boyd, who returned it 52 yards for the score.
In the fourth quarter leading 41-0, the Griffins would commit their first turnover in 17 quarters. Jeff Russell fumbled at midfield, and Cheraw’s Mark Bowman scooped it up and returned in 30 yards to the Fairfield Central 17-yard line.
The Braves would break through to score their only points of the night when Campbell found Teddy Gillespie open in the end zone on a corner route from six yards away. After an unsuccessful two-point conversion, the Griffins would win 41-6.
Fairfield Central’s defense combined for four sacks and two turnovers (one interception and one fumble). Padgett led the defense with a game high 16 tackles.
The Griffins will put their undefeated record on the line Oct. 4 when they host Columbia (1-5) to open up region III-AA play. Last year the Griffins defeated Columbia 38-19.
Despite the Griffins success through non-region play, Davis continues to stay focused on Fairfield’s next opponent.
“The toughest game of the year is always the next one,” he stated. “They (Columbia) had a coach in the stands tonight drawing up our plays so they’ll be ready to play Friday night. Hopefully we can get on a roll here at home for the next three weeks and come out of this thing healthy.”