"The decision" was the talk of the town in Chester Friday night as fans contemplated whether the Cyclones should have gone for the win with the 2-point conversion attempt or instead kick the extra-point for another overtime session.
Fairfield Central came away with a 26-25 overtime win.
Chester elected to go for the win and that decision resulted in a bad snap. Cyclones' quarterback Tony McNeal recovered the fumble but was immediately swarmed by several Fairfield Central defenders.
Fairfield Central won the thriller to clinch the second seed in Region 4-AAA. Chester, the third seed, will travel to play Wade Hampton in next week's state playoffs.
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Chester coach Anthony Sterling immediately defended the decision to go for the win, based on one-on-one coverage the Cyclones saw in the Griffins' secondary.
"The play was there for us," Sterling said. "But we just did not get the snap back there. It was definitely a bad break for us. We were going to run a play-action pass and hit Julius (Pendergrass) on the other side for the score. We saw that play open and immediately made up our minds to go for the win."
Chester faced a similar decision earlier in the third quarter. With the score tied, 19-19, the Cyclones mounted an eight-play drive to the 2-yard line. They made the decision to go for the touchdown instead of putting three on the board, but came up empty with an incomplete pass.
The Cyclones also were hurt by fumbles. Chester dominated the yardage count, 422 to 263. However, that was negated with three lost fumbles.
The first fumble, at the Cyclone 22, led to the first Fairfield Central score. The second was returned by Griffins defensive back Devontre Parnell for an 82-yard touchdown; and the third ended a promising Cyclone drive late in the fourth quarter.
Chester was dominating on the ground with Pendergrass and K.J. Dixon leading the way to more than 200 yards rushing.
Fairfield Central will host Berea next week in the playoff opener.
FAIRFIELD CENTRAL 26
CHESTER 25 (OT)
FC - Ross Young 16 run (kick failed)
C - Joey Ford 25 field goal
FC - Danny Miller 1 run (pass failed)
C - Julius Pendergrass 5 run (kick failed)
C - Ford 33 field goal
FC -Devontre Parnell 82 fumble return (Tevin Workman kick)
C- Brent Minter 55 pass from Tony McNeal (Ford kick)
FC-William Miller 10 run (Workman kick)
C - Pendergrass 10 run (run failed)
RUSHING - Chester: Julius Pendergrass 24-132, K.J. Dixon 12-91, Tony McNeal 2-(-9). Fairfield Central: Damian Bell 5-12, Jimmy Walker 18-101, Danny Miller 14-(-14), Ross Young 1-16, William Miller 2-16, Shaquille Young 1-7.
PASSING - Chester: McNeal 15-33-1-208. Fairfield Central: D. Miller 12-22-1-125.
RECEIVING - Chester: Tevin Worthy 1-14, Brent Minter 4-94, Pendergrass 4-23, Darriel Rambert 1-33, Emery Frederick 2-18, Deterrion Hardin 2-13, Dixon 1-13. Fairfield Central: Devontre Parnell 1-(-2), Young 5-55, Walker 1-5, Dana Macklin 2-13, Chris Alson 2-60, Bell 1-(-6).
RECORDS: Chester 6-4, 3-2, Fairfield Central 9-1, 4-1.