Fairfield Central coach Demetrius Davis calls this year’s team one of the toughest he’s had in six years at the school.
The Griffins have proved that on several occasions.
Fairfield Central trailed A.C. Flora 17-0 in the first half before rallying to defeat the Falcons 32-17 on Sept. 23. Last week, the Griffins trailed Chester in the fourth quarter before scoring twice a three-minute win span to defeat the Cyclones 28-21 and earn The State’s Team of the Week honors.
“The toughness has started to build throughout the season,” Davis said. “When we were down 17 to A.C. Flora, we just refused to lose, and we have had a different swagger about us. We have a good mixture of older guys and younger ones buying in.”
The Griffins are led by a strong, physical defense, which is giving up 16.3 points a game. Linebacker Darryl Camack leads the team in tackles, and Blythewood transfer Kedar Jennings had his best game of the season against Chester with 4½ sacks.
Offensively, Stanley McManus is a dual threat at quarterback and has an offensive line led by North-South selection David Gibson.
Fairfield Central, ranked No. 3 in the latest Class 3A poll, controls its destiny in Region 3-3A, as it looks to make another deep run in the postseason. The Griffins played for state titles in 2012-13, and lost in the Class 2A Division I, Upper State finals to Newberry last season.
But Davis said playing for a state title hasn’t been mentioned much this season. Instead, the team has bought into the “Trust the Process” phrase, a term made popular by Alabama’s Nick Saban.
The process has included playing tougher competition. Fairfield has played the likes of 5A Blythewood, 4A Ridge View and A.C. Flora to get ready for region play. The Griffins lost to Blythewood and Ridge View in back-to-back weeks before winning four in a row.
“We are playing the Blythewoods, Ridge Views to make us better and make a run at it. I don’t know if it will work, but I think it was the best way to go when we were putting together our schedule,” Davis said. “I have been a part of teams that were unbeaten and then lose in the championship. So our mindset is still the same whether we were perfect or lost four games. The goal is still the same, and that is to win a championship.”