Fairfield Central played like a team with state championships under its belt in a 29-0 win at Chester. The Griffins (1-1) avenged a Week Zero loss to Brookland-Cayce with a solid game on both sides of the ball.
Chester (1-1) will look to regroup next week with the second of three straight home dates. The Cyclones entertain Rock Hill on Sept. 5.
Fairfield Central used an early Chester miscue to gain momentum and run away with the win. The Griffins amassed 291 yards on the ground to earn its’ sixth consecutive win over the Cyclones.
The Griffins’ first drive stalled after three plays and then punted to pin Chester at the 11-yard line. Chester quarterback, Tommy Sanders, lined up in the shotgun for the initial offensive play of the night. The snap sailed high over his head. Sanders hustled back to the end zone to recover the ball in stride but was promptly dropped for a safety.
Following the Chester punt, Fairfield needed seven plays to score the game’s first touchdown. Senior running back Joseph Young carried the ball over his right tackle for three yards and the score. Tevin Belk’s extra point made it 9-0.
“You can’t make mistakes against a state championship team. You just can’t do it,” Chester head coach Anthony Sterling said, alluding to the early safety. “We had blown assignments, and we have some things we need to tighten up on. We have a tough schedule coming up. Things don’t come easy. We are going to learn from this.”
Young led the Griffins with 146 yards on 20 carries. He has an offer from the University of Virginia already. Young was patient with the ball until blockers opened lanes for him to dart through. He gained 33 yards around the left end early in the third quarter before a leg cramp ended his night.
“They are a fundamentally sound team,” Sterling said of the Class 2A Griffins. “They run a well-executed offense. We have to take this and learn from it.”
Chester was coming off a decisive 34-8 season-opening win over Class A Lewisville. The Cyclones struggled on both sides of the ball on Friday night.
The Cyclones tallied 202 yards of total offense. But 44 of that came on two pass plays on the final drive that sputtered out at the Griffins’ 17 in waning seconds of the game.
Fairfield Central took a 16-0 lead in the second quarter on quarterback Stanley McManus’ 7-yard run. Chester then mounted its’ best scoring opportunity.
Tommy Sanders completed passes to Marquavious Halsey and Justin Sanders. The senior quarterback also scrambled 26 yards to set the Cyclones up first-and-10 from the Griffins’ 13. An incomplete pass to the corner of the end zone and a 2-yard run up the middle by Jalyn Reid left Chester with some work to do to light up the scoreboard.
Sanders missed Keith Feaster at the goal line when his pass soared high. Facing a fourth down, Chester went for it. Sanders rolled out to his right looking desperately for an open receiver. The Griffins had everyone covered. Sanders was knocked out of bounds for a 3-yard loss.
Fairfield Central took a 22-0 lead into the half after Shadarius Hopkins scored from six yards out on a reverse around the left end.
Hopkins added the game’s final touchdown when he hauled in a pass from McManus with 6:44 left in the third quarter.