NEWBERRY — Two Newberry High School graduating classes had reunions Friday at Newberry College’s Setzler Field during the Bulldogs’ 20-7 loss to Fairfield Central High School — the class of 1986 and the class of 2006.
With the Bulldogs and the Griffins ranked sixth and seventh respectively in last week’s AP 3A press poll, the packed Setzler Field crowd knew that the victor would most likely be the one that had the fewest dents in their armor at the end of the game under a full moon shining directly onto the stadium.
All five possessions to begin the game ended in a punt.
Receiving the Newberry punt on the second play of the second quarter, Fairfield Central had 40 yards in front of them for a potential score.
Only seeing the third and fourth down markers one time apiece, Fairfield Central finally ended the scoreless game with a four-yard run with 9:35 until the half. A bad snap on the PAT kick resulted in the holder getting tackled on the potential two-point play.
Still trailing 6-0, Newberry drove down to the Griffins’ 32 but Tyriq Goodman would be intercepted at the 15 with 25 seconds left in the first half.
Fairfield Central had 102 yards of first half offense while Newberry had 83.
Ethan Day’s 34-yard punt not only pinned the Griffins at their 13 but two straight penalties put them back to the four.
Working their way up the seven before being forced to punt, Fairfield Central had a 61-yard kick, which included bouncing and rolling for more than 20 yards, put Newberry at the 31.
With the game still being just a one possession game, Newberry had the ball with just over nine minutes left in the game when a Griffin hit on Goodman caused a fumble, which was returned 15 yards for the touchdown.
The two-point try was again unsuccessful which left Newberry trialing 12-0 with 9:03 left in the game.
Goodman kept the ball three straight times on their next possession, which resulted in a third-and-10 from the 45-yard line of Fairfield Central.
Going to the air, Goodman threw a perfect pass to Jaleel Gilliam at the nine, as Amir Abrams scored two plays later from the one with 6:50 left in the fourth quarter. Day converted the PAT for the 12-7 score.
Newberry seemed to have held Fairfield Central on a two-yard run on their next possession, but the Bulldogs would be flagged 15 yards for a face mask violation on the tackle, putting the visitors at the 45 of Newberry.
Under heavy coverage, the Griffins’ quarterback while scrambling for his life on a third-and-eight, threw across the field to one of his receivers, which resulted in a 43-yard touchdown score.
The two-point pass play was good to end the scoring with 5:17 left in the game.
Fairfield Central ended the evening with 191 yards in total offense. Newberry had 90 yards in rushing and 187 yards through the air.
Abrams had 21 rushes for 47 yards while Goodman had 11 carries for 42. Tony Mason did not get any yardage on his lone carry.
RJ Wadsworth caught six passes for 72 yards, Gilliam (4-59), Abrams (2-21), and PJ Wright caught one pass for 28 yards.
Newberry (3-2) will enjoy this week off before returning to the field on Sept. 30 to open region play with the hosting of Woodruff.