WINNSBORO — Last month, E.K. McLendon Stadium hosted a monumental game between rivals that went down to the wire.
The Griffins escaped with a 29-27 victory when their stout defense was able to stop one of the best athletes in the state, Yafari Werts, from converting a two-point conversion.
Friday, Winnsboro will once again be witness to the kind of game grandchildren will someday hear about. For the fourth consecutive season, Fairfield Central will play Newberry in the playoffs.
The Griffins have won two of the previous three playoff games against Newberry, but it was the Bulldogs pulling the upset last year on their way to the state championship game. The Griffins are 3-1 against Newberry since 2012.
Don’t let that those numbers change the perception about this game, though. The Griffins are well aware they are in for a dog fight. The Bulldogs gave Fairfield Central all they wanted and then some on Oct. 9 and they will be looking for revenge Friday night.
Griffins Coach Demetrius Davis acknowledged the challenge of facing Newberry a second time.
“This is going to be a tough football game,” he said. “It’s hard to beat a good football team one time. But yet to be able to beat a team of that caliber twice is tough.”
Don’t expect much to change, though. Coach Davis said his team won’t approach the Bulldogs any differently this time around.
“We’re going to do what we do,” Davis said. “This time of year, you can get paralysis by analysis, trying to over analyze and change and doing too much. You just have to spend your time on fundamentals and all that other stuff will take care of itself.”
Their first match-up with the Bulldogs going down to the wire will also be beneficial for the Griffins.
“It helps keep these kids’ attention, because if we had gone out and had our way with Newberry, I don’t think we’d be as locked in as we are,” he said.
The Griffins will be challenged Friday night with an injury that could pose a problem. Against Woodruff, running back Tony Ruff went down with a high ankle sprain. While he is working to come back as quickly as he can, that is an injury that could hold him out for some time.
That is part of the game, though, and every player has to bring their best at this time of the year.
“This time of year, everybody is good,” he said. “Nobody wants to go home.”
Fairfield Central and Newberry will kick off Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in E.K. McLendon Stadium.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.