Fairfield Central was on the ropes with less than 8 minutes left Friday night against Chester. It had missed a chance to take the lead with a 2-point conversion, and then gave up a 71-yard touchdown run to go down eight.
But the Class 3A No. 3 Griffins had a little more in them.
They scored the final 15 points of a 28-21 win against the Cyclones (7-2, 2-1 region 4-3A) to run a winning streak in the series to seven, and take command of the region race.
“It’s important,” Fairfield Central coach Demetrius Davis said. “Every game we play, the next game is the biggest game of the year, so whether it’s a region championship or a region game, or a non-region game, it’s a big game.
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“For us to get in the dadgum hunt, it’s exciting.”
The Griffins (6-2, 3-0) had to weather 133 rushing yards from Chester’s Appalachian State-bound quarterback commit Malik Williams, but got 56 rushing yards and two scores from quarterback Stanley Mcmanus and 110 rushing yards after halftime from running back Rod Edmonds.
A bad snap on a punt put Fairfield on the Chester 22 in the fourth quarter, setting up the first of three Griffin scores in the final nine minutes.
Malik Williams, QB, Chester: He ran for 133 yards on 32 carries and threw for 124 more.
Kedar Jennings, LB, Fairfield Central: On senior night, he had 4 1/2 of his team’s seven sacks and helped the Griffins corral Williams.
63: Fairfield’s penalty yards in the first half, which helped short out three scoring chances.
192: The Griffins’ rushing yards after halftime, compared to zero yards through the air.
THEY SAID IT
“We practiced, slow down, don’t run upfield on the outside. Because we usually overrun stuff. But I think we did a pretty good job stopping him.” – Kedar Jennings, on controlling Williams
“I don’t know if you necessarily feel it going wrong, but we kind of put ourselves in a hole with a penalty, and we had, I don’t know, some bad plays down here. That’s going to happen when you’re as young as we are.” – Chester coach Victor Williams, on the sideline as the game slipped away.
HOW THEY SCORED
FC – Suber-O’Neal 50 run (McManus kick), 10:13
C – Brown 42 run (Erby kick), 7:52
C – Williams 2 run (Erby kick), 5:30
FC – McManus 1 run (run failed), 8:37
C – Williams 71 run (Erby kick), 7:49
FC – Edmonds 8 run (Edmonds run), 5:14
FC – McManus 11 run (McManus kick), 3:30
Rushing: C: Williams 32-133, Brown 10-71, Hardin 1-5, Reid 2-4, Erby 1-(-17). Totals: 46-96. Edmonds 14-111, Suber-O’Neal 3-64, McManus 15-56, Ruff 3-28, Ross 3-20, J. Jackson 2-9, A. Jackson 1-8, TEAM 1-(-2). Totals: 42-296.
Passing: C: Williams 10-18-0-124. FC: McManus 5-14-2-33.
Receiving: C: Erby 4-48, Mills 3-31, Hollis 2-15, Brown 1-30. FC: Jackson 2-19, JR Edmonds 2-7, Goins 1-7.