Fairfield Central Demetrius Davis said his team was in a low place after the last time it played Newberry.
But two months later, Davis and the Griffins were in a much better place. Fairfield Central shut down Newberry’s Amir Abrams and the Bulldogs’ offense in the 14-7 win Friday in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs.
Fairfield will face Emerald in the third round next week.
“We were at a low place. I am not going to lie to you,” Fairfield Central coach Demetrius Davis said. “But I told them it is not about August and September. It is about November and December. Hopefully, we can keep this thing rolling.”
It was the second time the two teams played each other this year and the sixth time in past seven years they have met in the playoffs. Newberry defeated Fairfield Central 22-21 on Sept 15 on a two-point conversion with three seconds left.
The loss was part of a three-game losing streak, the longest since Davis took over the program in 2011. But Fairfield, which started two freshmen and a sophomore at quarterback, hasn’t lost since then.
The Griffins have relied on their defense, which features 10 seniors and held Newberry to 138 total yards.
Davis went into his bag of tricks early as Fairfield Central executed a fake punt to set up its first score, a 2-yard run by Jamon Jackson. The Griffins converted a fake extra point to lead 8-0 with 1:12 left in the first quarter
Newberry cut the lead to 8-7 on Abrams’ 7-yard run with 23 seconds left in first. It was Abrams 100th TD of his career. But the senior was held in check for the most part and finished with 97 yards on 27 carries.
The score stayed 8-7 until late in the fourth quarter when Jacob McManus hit Tykedrist Gibson on fourth-and-17 to make it 14-7.
Newberry had a final possession but failed to pick up a first down.
83: Total rushing yards for Newberry
6,140: Career rushing yards Amir Abrams finished with at Newberry
THEY SAID IT
“Defense is what we hang our hat on. Offensively, we knew we were going to struggle. But coach Dean does a great job with our defense, and they got after it.” – Davis
“They whipped us up front. Last time we played them, we handled the line of scrimmage. Tonight, they handled it and that was the difference.” – Newberry coach Phil Strickland
HOW THEY SCORED
FC – Jackson 2 run (2-point pass)
N – Abrams 7 run (Benitez kick)
FC – Gibson 17 pass from McManus (kick failed)
Rushing: N: Abrams 27-94, Goodman 6 (-15) Moore 2-6. FC: Ruff 11-22, Ross 1-38, Glenn 6-29, Jackson 7-41, Barber 4-23.
Passing: N: Goodman 6-18-1 98. FC: McManus 10-16-1 49.
Receiving: N: Epps 4-43, Gilliam 2-55. FC: Edmonds 3-1, Williamson 1-10, Simmons 3-6, Ruff 1-9, Thompson 1-6, Gibson 1-17.