FAIRFIELD COUNTY — Woodruff High School came into E.K. McLendon Stadium on Friday with a highly touted offense looking for a win, but it was the Wolverine defense that was really impressive.
The Wolverines frustrated Fairfield Central throughout the first half and kept Woodruff in the game until late, but it wouldn’t be enough.
For the 11th time this season, Demetrius Davis’s Griffins asserted themselves and pulled out a win, 27-10.
The Wolverines had a rough start as the Griffins drove 69 yards in five plays. Stanley McManus capped the drive with his 15th touchdown of the season, a 46-yard pass to Josh Bell.
From there, the defenses took over for the remainder of the first quarter. Woodruff drove inside the Griffin 10 yard line, but were denied when quarterback Keegan Halloran was sacked on 4th and goal.
Fairfield Central went three and out on their next series and made the first of two huge special teams mistakes. McManus had the snap go over his head on a fourth down punt attempt and would be tackled for a safety.
Woodruff got excellent field position on their ensuing drive, but the Griffin defense stood tall and forced the first of four consecutive three and outs, two for each team. With time running down in the second quarter, Halloran threw the first of two interceptions, giving the Griffins good field position.
Three plays later, Tony Ruff ran off the left side of the line for a 38-yard touchdown, his fifth of the season.
On the Wolverines next play, it was Chad Sampson getting his third interception in two weeks. The Griffins got a first down but stalled out. With McManus back to punt, the Wolverines fought through the line and Tristan Evans blocked the punt and took it in for a touchdown.
That would be all Woodruff would muster on the scoreboard, and they would finish with only 88 yards of offense. The Griffins went on to wear down the Wolverines defense in the second half with a strong rushing performance. Jerrell Suber-Oneal went over the century mark again, finishing with 23 carries for 103 yards.
The Griffin defense finished with nine tackles for loss on the night, including three sacks.
Next week’s Upper State Championship will feature a rematch as Newberry comes back to town. The Bulldogs knocked off Strom Thurmond on Friday night 41-14. The winner of that game will take on the winner of the Lower State Championship — either Dillon or Lake Marion in the title game set for Dec. 4 at Benedict College.
Reach James Inabinet at 803-635-4016.