As Sumter High’s football team was preparing to take on Spring Valley this week, Gamecock head coach Paul Sorrells preached to his squad not to assume anything about the Vikings’ 0-5 record. Sorrells’ troops apparently took their coaches message to heart, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the game’s first two minutes and then cruising to a resounding 61-27 victory at Memorial Stadium on Friday.
Sumter remains unbeaten at 6-0 with the win, while Spring Valley falls to 0-6.
“We’ve played some teams this year who have been struggling, so our theme has been to just worry about ourselves and be ready to play every Friday night,” said Sorrells. “We scored on special teams, we scored on defense, and had an overall good team effort. We’ll take a 61-27 win any night. I’m proud of the way our guys played tonight.”
One of Sorrells’ guys, running back Roderick McDowell, started the game by taking the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. McDowell ended the game rushing for 193 yards on 19 carries with three scores.
“When I saw their kicker was the only one who had a chance to get him, I knew it was all over,” Sorrells said of McDowell’s kickoff return. “He’s not going to let the kicker get him. He’s a special talent and when he gets out in the open like that he is going to win the battle.”
After David Chambers added the extra point following McDowell’s score, the Gamecocks led 7-0 13 seconds into the game. It was 13-0 a minute later when, on the Vikings second play from scrimmage, linebacker Quinn McLendon knocked the ball away from Spring Valley quarterback Rob Harding at the Vikings 20-yard line.
Sumter defensive Carrison Oxendine scooped up the loose ball and returned the fumble for a score. Chambers extra point was blocked, but the Gamecocks still led 13-0 with 10:20 remaining in the opening stanza.
After failing to pick up a first down on its opening series, Sumter’s offense matched the special teams and defense by putting points on the scoreboard on their second possession. After taking over at the Spring Valley 39 following an interception by Cardell Scarborough, Sumter quarterback Stephen Curtis zipped a 54-yard scoring strike to Thomas Myers-McCall to make it 21-0 with 4:49 remaining in the first quarter.
“When you get behind a team like Sumter as quickly as we did, it sort of takes a while to settle into the game,” said Spring Valley head coach Quay Farr. “But we dug ourselves too big a hole to get out of against Sumter.”
The Vikings were able to pull to within 21-3 before the first quarter ended on Kevin Knapp’s 26-yard field goal. The Gamecocks pushed their lead to 27-3 late in the second quarter when a 51-yard punt return by Timmy Rogers was followed by an 8-yard TD run by McDowell. However, Spring Valley’s Charles Lang raced 89 yards on the ensuing kickoff to get the Vikings within 27-10.
McDowell added his third touchdown of the half on a 13-yard run with 1:32 left in the half that gave Sumter a 34-10 lead. But the Vikings snuck in a touchdown before the half ended when Harding connected with Lang on a 27-yard touchdown pass with two seconds remaining that made it 34-17.
With 43 seconds left in the first quarter of Sumter High School's football game with Lexington Friday at Memorial Stadium, the rout was on.
The Gamecocks had jumped out to a 21-0 lead and Lexington appeared to be headed to a lopsided defeat. However, there were still three quarters left to play, and the Wildcats made the most out of them.
Lexington had the lead down to 28-21 by halftime and tied the game at 28, 35 and 42 before SHS finally held on for a 56-42 victory to improve to 4-0 on the season.
"We knew that they were capable of doing that because they did it against Ridge View," Sumter head coach Paul Sorrells said of Lexington, which fell behind 28-0 to Ridge View last week before losing 28-24. "We prepared as best we could for what they do, but not a lot of people do that anymore, and they do it well. Fortunately, they couldn't stop our offense either, and our defense made some stops when they absolutely had to."
The offenses for both teams were absolutely sensational, combining for 1,020 yards in total offense. Sumter had 523 yards, 295 coming on the ground and 228 through the air. Lexington, which fell to 2-2, had 497, 348 on the ground and 149 passing.
Running back Roderick McDowell led the Gamecocks offensively, scoring five touchdowns. He rushed for 168 yards and four TDs and caught two passes for 27 yards and another score. Quarterback Stephen Curtis was 10-for-16 for 228 yards and three touchdowns.
Curtis got SHS, the fifth-ranked 4A team in the state, off on the right foot as as he went up top to wide receiver Michael Waldkirch for a 70-yard TD pass on the first play of the game. A 53-yard completion to wide receiver Tyler Smith set up a 5-yard scoring run by McDowell, and Curtis threw a screen pass to running back Jamarious Ward, who turned it into a 23-yard touchdown pass. David Chambers was successful on the third of eight extra point attempts to put Sumter up 21-0.
Lexington has been giving opponents a healthy dose of fullback Anthony Carden, and it did the same with Sumter. However, the Gamecocks handled Carden early, but when the Wildcats started using the pitch in its option attack, that began to open things up for Carden.
"We watched them on film and they ran the option 175 times and didn't pitch it once," Sorrells said. "Tonight they started pitching it, which was something they hadn't done."
The Wildcats scored on a 35-yard pass from quarterback Trad Hunter to Carden to make it 21-7 with 11:27 left in the second quarter. The Wildcats recovered a fumble at the Sumter 43, eventually setting up a 26-yard run by halfback Dexter Wells off a pitch to cut the lead to 21-14 with 9:13 left in the first half.
Sumter answered with an 8-yard scoring run by Ward to make it 28-14 with 2:22 left. Lexington was able to score before halftime, thanks to a 44-yard pass from Hunter to Schott Garbett to the SHS 8-yard line. Two plays later, Hunter threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Garbett with 11 seconds remaining to make the halftime score 28-21.
The Sumter High School football team is going to get a taste of "old school" football today when Lexington visits Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats run the football, run the football and run the football a little more — very hard. "They line up and try to run the ball down your throat," Gamecocks head coach Paul Sorrells said of Lexington, which is 2-1 on the season. "There are not a lot of tricks, a lot of smoke and mirrors. They line up, give the football to the fullback and run it right at you. They come off the ball hard."
Sumter cross-country boys, girls win meet - Wednesday, September 12, 2007
FLORENCE — The Sumter High School boys and girls cross country teams swept a 4-way meet at West Florence Tuesday. The boys finished with 34 points, edging South Florence by 13 points and the girls ran away with the meet with 23 points — 39 points better than second-place South Florence.
Quinn Wenger finished fourth overall for the boys with a time of 20-minutes, 57-seconds and Dustin Hillard and Tommy Hernandez were right behind him with times of 21:07 and 21:59, respectively. Chasion McGwire was 8th at 23:09, Daniel Jackson 11th at 24:02 and Peter Hackett 14th at 24:27. (full story)
CHARLOTTE — Four years ago, when former Sumter High School football standout cornerback Ricardo Colclough was chosen by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the National Football League draft, the dream of every high school football player had come true for him.
Colclough was in the big time, a far cry from his collegiate career that included stops at Kilgore Junior College in Texas and Division II Tusculum in Tennessee.
As Colcough prepapres for his fourth season with the Steelers today when they play at Cleveland, in some ways he feels like he will be starting his career all over again. With Mike Tomlin having taken over for former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher in the offseason, Colclough is excited about what the coaching change may spell for his future.
SUMTER SPLITS TRI-MATCH - Tuesday, September 11, 2007 The Sumter High School volleyball team split a tri-match Monday, losing 1-2 to Robert E. Lee before rebounding with a 2-0 win over Lakewood at the Lakewood High gymnasium.
The Lady Cavaliers took two of three from SHS, winning 25-20, losing Game 2 25-16 and winning the match with a 25-14 victory in Game 3. Jessy Hansen had five aces, Monieke Woods had eight digs and Brittnii Watts had nine kills and five blocks. Kristel Gooding had 15 assists and 10 aces to lead REL.
Against Lakewood, Sumter won 25-12 and 25-19 to move to 5-5 on the year. Morgan Mixon had five aces and Woods had five kills. Rachel Hanrahan had four digs and two kills, Lauren Martin had six digs and Victoria Prescott had three kills for the Lady Gators. (full story)
Richardson Earns Player of the Week Honors - Tuesday, September 11, 2007
CHARLOTTE — Coastal Carolina quarterback William Richardson has been chosen as the Big South Conference Offensive Player of the Week after his performance in the Chanticleers’ 28-21 win over Winston-Salem State Saturday.
Richardson, a redshirt junior from Sumter, passed for a career-high 301 yards on 16-of-24 passing and one touchdown in leading the Chanticleers in their come-from-behind win. In just his second career start, Richardson led four scoring drives of 60 yards or more, including the final two scoring drives (69 and 60) that led to the game-winning points. (full story)
Beware! There is a triple-headed monster in the Sumter High School backfield. While it doesn't guard the underworld like Cerberus, it doesn't play nice either.
Steven Lewis, Roderick McDowell and Jamarious Ward combined to rush for 277 yards against Stratford Friday night at Memorial Stadium, and the 10th-ranked Gamecocks demolished No.4 Stratford 27-10 on a muggy night. The Gamecocks rushed for 309 as a team.
"I am very proud of them," said Sumter head coach Paul Sorrells, whose team improved to 2-0 on the year. "Our kids fought. I challenged them to put everything aside for two hours, for two hours focus on this football team and what we are trying to accomplish.
"We won the battle up front," he added. "The games are won in the trenches and we won it."
Lewis ran for a game-high 129 yards on 10 carries and laid many bone-jarring blocks for Ward and McDowell.
"Our backfield is real good and we all come prepared to practice, to work hard all the time," said Lewis. "We never give up and always play hard."
Sumter got on the board first thanks to a little trickery on its second possession of the game. Facing fourth down and three yards to go from their 49-yard line, the Gamecocks lined up for a punt, but the ball was hiked to up back Tamarious Ward as Stephen Curtis, the punter, acted as if the ball went over his head. Ward took off around the right end of the unsuspecting Knights defense and took the ball all the way to the Stratford 14, thanks to a touchdown-saving tackle from Stratford punt returner Kent Akins.
On the next play, Curtis, also the SHS quarterback, handed off to McDowell, who burst up the middle and cut outside, facing a 1-on-1 situation with Stratford's Levon Ravenell. McDowell decided not to run over or past the 5-8, 152-pound cornerback; instead, he decided to just jump over him. McDowell cleared Ravenell completely as he scored untouched and David Chambers' kick made it 7-0 with 1:16 left in the first quarter.
"It came down to he was going to hit me, or I could move for him not to hit me," laughed McDowell. "My feet said to jump over him, so I jumped over him."
After forcing a 3-and-out, the Gamecocks looked primed to add to their lead. Curtis completed a pass to Travis Fredimon to midfield to end the first quarter and four straight runs had SHS set up at the Stratford 5. However, a clipping penalty and a sack pushed the ball back to the 24-yard line and Chambers was short on a 40-yard field goal.
The teams traded possessions and Stratford took over at its own 33. Facing a third-and-three from the 40, Knights quarterback Tyler McDonald found streaking tight end John Weaver for 43 yards down to the SHS 13. On the next play, McDonald dropped back to pass, found no one open and scrambled in untouched for the score. Daniel Martin's PAT tied it at seven with 1:17 left in the opening half.
Sumter watched the momentum switch before its eyes to close the first half but Carlos Champagne didn't wait long to take it back. Stratford's Desmond Reynolds ran a simple play up the middle and looked to be stopped for a 1-yard run, but Champagne stripped the ball and took off for the end zone and had just enough gas to make it in for a 60-yard fumble return for a 14-7 lead just 1:34 into the third quarter.
The Sumter High School football team has a big game today, playing host to perennial 4A power Stratford at Memorial Stadium beginning at 7:30 p.m. Win or lose though, Gamecocks head coach Paul Sorrells doesn't want it to be too big of a game.
"To be 2-0 would be outstanding," said Sorrells, whose squad opened its season with a 28-13 win over Crestwood last week. "That would give us a lot of confidence in being a good team. At the same time, it's a long season, and if you're not successful, you don't want that one game to hurt you.
"Your good football teams are going to be ready every week, to meet the challenge at hand. They're not going to be worried about what has happened, and they're not going to be worried about what is going to happen. Their focus is on that game."
This is a game that can certainly get SHS moving in the right direction though. Stratford is ranked fourth among 4A schools in the Associated Press poll, while Sumter is 10th. The Knights, who reached the semifinals of the 4A Division I state playoffs last season, opened their season with a 23-17 win over West Ashley last week.
"It can be a measuring stick for us," Sorrells said of the contest. "They are a good program historically, a good, solid football team year in and year out — and sometimes they're really good. We'll have to be on our Ps and Qs against them."
The Gamecocks had 335 total yards of offense against Crestwood, showing a good balance with 198 rushing yards and 137 passing yards. Running back Roderick McDowell rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown on nine carries and caught three passes for 89 yards and two scores. Sophomore quarterback Stephen Curtis completed 5 of 12 passes for 137 yards and three TDs.
While Sorrells was pleased with the Gamecocks' effort, he knows there is still a lot of room for improvement.
DALZELL – Roderick McDowell did just about everything for Sumter High School Friday against Crestwood in their season-opening football game at District 2 Memorial Stadium.
Doing his best impersonation of the New Orleans Saints' Reggie Bush, McDowell ran nine times for 54 yards and a score and caught three passes for 89 yards and two more touchdowns as Sumter downed its cross-county rival 28-13.
"Everybody knows he has got great talent," Sumter head coach Paul Sorrells said of McDowell. "He is not only a great running back, but he catches the ball so well and runs great routes. We are going to try to use him that way. It is really good when you can move him around that way so defenses can't key in on him in just one spot."
McDowell and fellow running backs Steven Lewis and Jamarious Ward made things easy on sophomore quarterback Stephen Curtis, a first-year starter.
"One thing about us, we don't argue and we play as a family," said McDowell. "We don't have no stars. When you see one of us down, another one will step up."
The trio combined to run for 180 yards to take the pressure off Curtis, who finished with 137 yards passing on 5-of-12 passing.
"Pretty good for a sophomore quarterback," said Sorrells. "We feel that he is going to be a good one."
Facing the first fourth down of his young career — just over seven minutes old for those counting — from the Crestwood 23-yard line Curtis helped execute the play call from SHS offensive coordinator Grayson Howell to perfection. In the shotgun with Lewis to his right and McDowell to his left, Curtis rolled right as Lewis picked up a big block, and after looking the Crestwood defense to the right, Curtis lobbed the ball to a waiting McDowell on a screen pass.
Other than running into his own blocker in Michael Waldkirch, McDowell scampered and cut back a couple of times to score the first touchdown of the season. David Chambers' extra point made it 7-0 with 4:13 left in the first quarter.
"All I can say is we had a great win," said McDowell. "As long as we are winning and the offensive line is playing great, I can't complain."
After Sumter's Cardell Scarborough intercepted a tipped pass from Crestwood quarterback Treginald Wilson, Curtis and McDowell went right back to work. On a first-and-10 play from their 48-yard line, Curtis threw the fade to McDowell, who was covered one-on-one by Mike Portee. McDowell outjumped Portee as the defensive back fell to the ground and McDowell trotted in for a 52-yard touchdown reception. Chambers made it 14-0 with under a minute left in the first quarter.
Down two scores in the second quarter, Crestwood needed to get something going so it went to its bread and butter — the Wing T offense. Thanks to a 46-yard scamper by fullback Mike McMillan, the Knights found themselves in business with a first-and-goal from the SHS 10.
The Knights moved to the 6 on the first three plays and faced fourth down with just 30 seconds left in the first half. The Knights called a quick slant to Randy Moulds, who caught the ball but was collar-tackled down right at the goal line. Moulds leapt into the end zone for an apparent score, but the referees said his knee went down first — just inches at best — from the goal line for a turnover on downs.
"They said it was right before the goal line — I don't know what they called," said Crestwood head coach Keith Crolley. "When one signals a touchdown, and it is right in front of him, and lets the other one overrule him, it kind of aggravates you and takes some of the life out of the kids. They said the ball didn't cross the plane and the guy from 40 yards away saw it when the guy right on top missed it.
"It is a game of momentum and that would have given us something."
The Knights took the opening drive of the second half and put together an 11-play, 80-yard drive that McMillan capped with a 28-yard touchdown run. McMillan's tight-rope effort down the left sideline and B.J. Ray's PAT put Crestwood back in the game at 14-7 with six minutes left in the third quarter.
The unknowns between the football programs at Sumter and Crestwood high schools are very, very few. After all, the schools are rivals, many of the players know each other, heck, even the two head coaches go to church together. "Our kids get excited about playing Sumter and I know they get excited about playing us," said Crestwood head coach Keith Crolley, who attends Christ Community Church along with Sumter head coach Paul Sorrells and offensive coordinator Grayson Howell. "These guys see each other at the mall, at Wal-Mart, some go to church together
It didn't take long for Sumter High School sophomore quarterback Stephen Curtis to show what he can do Friday.
After the Gamecock defense forced a three downs and out on Lakewood's first possession, Curtis took the first snap and fired a long pass to streaking wide receiver Michael Waldkirch down the middle of the field. The result was a 54-yard touchdown as the Gamecocks went on to win the 20-minute period 27-0 in the Sumter High School/Sertoma Club Football Jamboree.
"We feel like he throws the ball pretty well and he made a good throw and Michael Waldkirch made a good catch," SHS head coach Paul Sorrells said. "Of course, none of that could happen without great protection up front. It was just a play like it was supposed to be done. I was proud of their execution.
"The biggest thing is whatever play you run, you just want to execute it," he added. "I don't care what play it is, it could be the quarterback sneak, just as long as you execute it right."
Jamarious Ward added 62 yards rushing and two scores for Sumter, which had to punt just once. It was a different story for the Gators.
Lakewood managed just two first downs and one came with less than 15 seconds left in the scrimmage. Lakewood head coach Doc Lewis obviously wasn't pleased with the performance, but wasn't worried about his team heading into the season opener at Scott's Branch next Friday.
"It's not a cause for concern," he said. "We are definitely not where we used to be and we are better than we have been, but we are not where we want to be. There is no panic, we just have to get back at it.
"The mesh and the timing was fairly decent, the problem was we didn't block and we didn't tackle," added Lewis, whose team gained just 20 yards of offense in the game. "When you don't block and tackle, it's tough. I don't have an explanation. I am going to have to look at the film."
Sorrells was very pleased with the way his defense played, especially with not having seen the Wing T offense out of the shotgun formation.
"They played pretty well too playing against an offense we really hadn't seen," he said. "Lakewood did a good job and got some holes and got some good runs on there on some misdirection. I was proud of our defense. We know we aren't there yet, and we've still got a lot to work to do in a lot of areas."
Ward made it 13-0 with 15:57 left on a 9-yard run that was set up by a Lakewood fumble. David Chambers, however, missed the PAT.