All through the season, the Fairfield Central Griffins have been driven by the memory of Dec. 6, 2013.
On that day, Fairfield Central lost its second consecutive Class 2A title bid, 41-3 against Dillon.
“To get embarrassed the way we did, I think that gave us extra motivation in the off-season, all through the summer and now the season,” coach Demetrius Davis said.
In their first game of the 2014 Class 2A Division 1 playoffs this past Friday, the highly motivated Griffins beat Mid-Carolina 55-14 to earn The State’s team of the week award.
Sophomore quarterback Stanley McManus posted 131 yards and three touchdowns through the air, and the Griffins (10-1) notched 564 all-purpose yards against the Rebels. It was Fairfield Central’s 10th consecutive win since dropping the season-opener by one point in double-overtime at Brookland-Cayce.
The Griffins have outscored opponents 433-99. Only in the regular season finale, also against Mid-Carolina, did the Griffins win by fewer than two touchdowns. In that game, they won 7-0.
“We’ve been able to win some games pretty comfortably,” Davis said, but the memory of December keeps the Griffins playing just as hard, regardless of the size of their lead.
“We really have a very short goal: win the state championship,” Davis said. “So, every game we play, we look at it like it’s our championship game.”
With their second-round game against visiting Strom Thurmond looming, Davis believes his team’s biggest assets are the offensive and defensive lines. He said much of the Griffins’ success is because of the front five of Malik Mickle, Davoris Owens, Nic Raley, Demetrius Yarborough and Travius Williams paving the way for Joseph Young’s more than 1,300 rushing yards this season.
On the other side of the line, Larry Garlington, Robert Young and Wallace Brown drive a defense that had four shutouts and allowed nine points per game.
“I think anybody will tell you, your team has the best chance when you’re strong up front, and we are,” Davis said.
The Griffins are three wins from a state title. But when they hit the field this week, they will play as though that big trophy is on the line.