FAIRFIELD COUNTY — Fairfield County is buzzing about Friday’s trip to the state championship for the Fairfield Central High School football team.
This is the first time the Griffins have made it to the championship since 1997 and the community is excited. Griffin pride has taken over the town, from conversations around the dinner table to status updates on social media sites.
This trip to the championship means a lot to the current players, coaches, staff and to the former players of the 1996 and 1997 championship teams.
One former Griffin who was on those teams was Nick Haas. He recalled the championship feeling and the pride of being a part of history.
“The most memorable experience I took away from our championship run was the camaraderie that developed within our team,” Haas said. “It was us against the world and the common goal that each one of us shared was the fact that we knew once we all stepped on the field together, we were going to win regardless of the opponent facing us. Every play we expected greatness from each other and held each other accountable for perfection until the final second clicked off the game clock. I remember the most the pride we had in ourselves as a team that we would overcome all obstacles and we did.”
Haas, like many on that team, journeyed outside Winnsboro but said he will never forget the experience.
His teammate, Brent Mack, had this to say about how it felt to win the championship: “It felt great and I’m still proud of being a two-time state champion of Fairfield Central. What I would like to say to the players now is that they will remember this game forever, so come to play like it’s your last (game).”
The community has always been a supporter of the team. Many people were concerned when the team lost two games early in the season, but continued to show up each Friday night not just for the love of the game, but because they knew that one day this could happen.
They dreamed that one day the town would “shut down” again and travel the short distance to Columbia with the people of Winnsboro taking over a much larger stadium as the Griffins fought to bring home another state championship.
David Corley, principal of Fairfield Central High School, whose son David Corley Jr was quarterback for the former championship team, could not be more excited about the trip back to the state championship.
Corley is not the only one who has returned to Fairfield Central.
Since that time, Ervin Mack, who played on the championship team, now serves as a coach for the current team. He said that being apart of the championship team carried the school name outside of the county and state.
“It is a blessed feeling to have been a player and now come back,” Mack said. “Words cannot explain how I feel to have the opportunity to come back home and coach after making history. It is truly a humbling feeling that the team will never forget.”