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Sumter picks up 24-17 win - Saturday, October 23, 2004
Sumter High School head football coach Paul Sorrells was happy to see his team improve to 3-6 overall and 2-1 in Region VI-4A with a 24-17 homecoming victory over West Florence Friday at Memorial Stadium.
After that Sorrells didn't see any reason to smile.
The Gamecocks committed six turnovers, had just 204 yards of total offense, 71 yards in penalties, missed several scoring opportunities early on and came close to coughing up a 24-3 lead entering the fourth quarter.
"We just did not play well at all," said Sorrells, whose team was coming off a 3-0 loss to Conway, then the No.1 4A team in the Associated Press poll. "We had several chances to put the game away early just like last week that we didn't take advantage of. The first half we had three or four times we could have scored and put the game away. It nearly came back to haunt us."
The game started on a high note for SHS. Quarterback Kendrick Pressley threw a 20-yard completion to wide receiver Chris Blanding for a first down at the Sumter 44-yard line. On the next play, running back Cedrick Smith broke off a 36-yard run to the Knights' 20-yard line.
Sumter wouldn't get any closer and placekicker Brian Przybyla missed a 37-yard field goal.
The Gamecocks caught a break when West Florence running back fumbled on the Knights' first offensive play with Sumter recovering at the WF 29. A personal foul on Sumter's first offensive play moved the ball to the 14. Four plays later freshman running back Steven Lewis scored on a 2-yard run. Przybyla added the extra point to make it 7-0 with 8:51 left in the first quarter.
The Knights, who fell to 4-5 and 1-2, managed a first down on their next possession before quarterback Austin Smenetna, who was alternating with Wesley Snow, fumbled with the Gamecocks recovering at the West Florence 47. Sumter was unable to move the ball though and had to punt.
"We were just very lackadaisical," said Sorrells, whose team has won three of its last four games. "We didn't take advantage of the opportunities that we had."
The Gamecocks joined the turnover club when Pressley was picked off by linebacker Dominque Henix, who returned the ball to the SHS 47. The Knights, who had just 68 yards in the first half and finished with 197, went for a first down on fourth and three yards to go at the 40, but were unable to get it.
Sumter responded with an 11-play, 59-yard scoring drive that was aided by another personal foul penalty by the Knights. Pressley scored on a 6-yard run to make it 14-0 with 11:17 left in the first half.
West Florence turned the ball over on their first play from scrimmage with another fumble recovered by linebacker Brian Wilson and returned three yards to the Knights' 20. The Gamecocks came up with a first down and goal at the 7, but had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Przybyla to make it 17-0 with 9:20 to go.
SHS tried to finish the Knights off over the remainder of the half, but Pressley tossed three more interceptions.
"He's a sophomore, and he's going to make some mistakes," Sorrells said of Pressley, who was 4-for-18 for 38 yard with four interceptions in the first half and finished 5-for-20 for 52 yards. "When you're young you sometimes have to go through the bad times to get to the good times."
Neither team was able to do anything offensively in the third quarter, although both teams got on the scoreboard. West Florence got a 28-yard field goal Andrew Grier after recovering an SHS fumble at the Gamecock 17. That made it 17-3 with 4:25 remaining in the quarter.
Kelton Tindal got Sumter's final score when he fielded a Grier punt at his 41. He got a couple of nice blocks, made a nifty move to find the wall along the right sideline before cutting back to the middle to finish off the 59-yard scoring punt return that made it 24-3 with 28 seconds left in the third quarter.
With the way Sumter had shut down West Florence's offense, it appeared the game was put away. However, the Knights responded with an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive that ended with running back Charles Hicks scoring on a 1-yard run on fourth and goal. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score at 24-9 with 8:28 to go.
"I guess our defense played OK, but that's a point in the game where you need to shut down the other team," Sorrells said. "A lot of football is about timing, and that's a time when you've got to stop them. They played smashmouth football and took it down the field on us."
West Florence caught a huge break on Sumter's sixth turnover of the night. Backup quarterback John Kendrick was stripped of the football and Knight linebacker Andre Durant picked it up and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. Hicks ran for the 2-point conversion to make it 24-17 with 1:40 to go.
Sumter recovered the onside kick and West Florence didn't get the ball back until just 27 seconds were left. They were able to run off only two plays. (full story)
CONWAY — The Sumter High School football team fought Conway tooth-and-nail throughout the game Friday at the Tigers’ home field, The Backyard.
In the end, however, a Sean Wallace 36-yard field goal would be the only points scored as Conway held on to win 3-0, snapping Sumter’s 2-game winning streak in Region VI-4A.
The Gamecocks had only 101 yards of total offense — 26 yards rushing and 75 passing — on the night, but several Conway miscues, such as two first-half fumbles, limited the Tigers’ offense as well. They could only muster 119 yards overall, with only four yards coming on three passes.
Sumter head coach Paul Sorrells no doubt was disappointed, but feels his team won the game in every facet except for the one that matters — the final score.
Conway High School is ranked No.1 in the state among 4A football teams, is 7-0, played in the past three 4A Division II state championship games and cracked a national poll this week.
The Sumter Gamecocks get to visit Conway on Friday. SHS head coach Paul Sorrells said his team isn't going to the coast to just put in an appearance.
"We're going to get on the bus and go down there with all of the intentions to win," said Sorrells, whose Gamecocks are 2-5. "We're not going there to just show up. A couple of our goals are to finish the regular season 6-5 and win a region championship. We're going to go down there and play with the intention of winning."
Just two weeks ago SHS was happy for any kind of victory it could find. However, the Gamecocks rallied from a 21-9 halftime deficit to beat Spring Valley 25-21 and followed it up with a 43-18 thrashing of South Florence in their Region VI opener last week.
Conway head coach Chuck Jordan said he has film on Sumter's last three games, which includes a 21-0 loss at Dorman. He is focusing his attention on the last two games.
"What I'm seeing is a good football team," said Jordan, whose Tigers opened their region schedule with a 35-28 road win over Marlboro County last week. "It looks like a very typical Sumter team, a lot of speed and well-coached. I know I haven't seen a team that has lost five in a row."
COLUMBIA — For two quarters, it was the same sad story for Sumter High School’s football team in their game against Spring Valley at Harry Parone Stadium Friday night. The Gamecocks were giving up big plays on defense, including a 62-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the game, while the offense turned the ball over three times.
By the time Spring Valley took a 21-9 lead into the locker room, it appeared as though the Vikings had chosen the perfect foil for their Homecoming opponent.
But as quick as tears rolled down the cheeks of the Homecoming Queen the minute her name was announced, a bit of magic struck the Gamecocks.
On their opening possession of the third quarter, placekicker Bryan Przybyla came on and lined up for a 52-yard field goal.
Przybyla hit a hard line drive that started left, drifted back right, clanged off the left goal past, trickled down to the crossbar, then performed a Michael Jackson-like moonwalk on the crossbar before finally climbing over for a successful kick.
Przybyla’s kick seemed to exorcise the demons that have been plaguing the Gamecocks all season and likely ignited Sumter to a 25-21 victory for its first win of the season.
At least, that’s what Sumter High head coach Paul Sorrells thinks.
“That field goal was huge,” Sorrells said of Przybyla’s 52-yarder, which the Gamecocks coaching staff believed to be a school record. “I felt like at that point in the game we had been down in their territory too many times and failed to come away with any points, and (special teams) Coach (Damon) Hubert had told me that he (Przybyla) was hitting them from that range during warm-ups.”
Spring Valley drops to 1-5. The Gamecocks are glad to get their first win of the year, Sorrells said.
“We had a lot of great wins with last year’s team, but I don’t know if any of them meant us much to them as this win does to this win,” Sorrells said. “Our coaches and players have kept battling all year, and we knew we were making progress, it just wasn’t showing up on Friday nights. I couldn’t be happier for our kids because it’s been tough on them going through this. But they never quit.”
As for the pivotal field goal, Przybyla thought he had enough distance after he struck the ball, but got worried when it started drifting to the left.
“All of a sudden it started coming back to the middle,” Przybyla said. “And after it hit the bar and bounced down and went through I was just glad that I was able to do something to get our team going.”
ROEBUCK – In a football game in which defenses shined and offenses struggled, all it took was a couple of mistakes to allow Dorman High School to capitalize and give itself a 21-0 victory over Sumter Friday at the Cavaliers’ field.
The defeat left Sumter winless in five games, and again it was costly mistakes that put it in a hole.
Early in the third quarter with Dorman holding onto a 6-0 lead, a bad snap led to a 4-yard punt by Brian Przybyla, setting up Dorman, which improved to 3-2, inside the Gamecock 20-yard line.
Dorman struggled in the first half to score inside the red zone, going 0-for-4, but this time quarterback Mychal Belcher used his ability to scramble and wiggled his way into the end zone on a 9-yard run to put the Cavaliers up 12-0. Belcher then found a wide open Chris Lambka for the 2-point conversion to increase the lead 14-0.
Sumter defensive back Marquis Mack had held Dorman receiver Michael Crossley in check the majority of the game, but gave up a jump ball 35-yard pass from Belcher in the fourth quarter.
“I had the ball but he came down with it,” Mack said. “He made a good effort to get it from me.”
That pass set up a scoring pass from Belcher to Issac Hudson, a 17-yarder that made it 21-0.
Belcher was 11-for-23 for 162 yards and rushed for 44 yards on 15 carries.
Dorman’s defensive front line put pressure on Sumter quarterback Kendrick Pressley all night, forcing Pressley to lose focus at times.
“They knew I was a young QB and they gave me multiple looks to distract me and it got to me a few times,” said Pressley, who was 10-for-24 for 89 yards and two interceptions. “I am going to have to go back out and learn and get better.”
Lexington Game Postponed - Date Not Yet Decided - Thursday, September 16, 2004
The football game against Lexington which had been resceduled for Thursday has been postponed to a later date that has yet to be determined. Hopefully something will be decided by noon on Friday, Sept. 17. We will post the date and time as soon as we know it. Options now are Saturday night, Sunday afternoon, or Monday night. Stay tuned for further details. (full story)
Due to the threat of Hurricane Ivan, Friday's game against Lexington has been rescheduled for Thursday, September 16, 2004. The game will be played at Lexington HS stadium and driving directions are included at the end of this post. Game time has also been changed to 7:00 p.m. Please come out and support your GAMECOCKS!
The JV game will be played at Sumter High Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 @ 7:30 p.m. The B-team game vs Lexington has been cancelled due to a scheduling error at Lexington HS.
Take Highway 76/378 to Columbia
Exit onto I-77 South towards Charleston; then I-26 towards Spartanburg/Greenville
Take I-20 West towards Augusta. Exit Highway 51 / Road 204 - Gilbert. Turn right off of the exit. Go 4 - 5 miles - go through one traffic light and one 4-way stop. When you get to the second traffic light, turn right. This is Highway 1. Go through one traffic light and turn right at the next road (Ballpark Road). This road is right after the trafffic light about one city block.
Sumter High School looked like as if it was on its way to its first win of the season in the early minutes of its football game against Spartanburg at Memorial Stadium Friday. But after quarterback Kendrick Pressley scored on a 43-yard run on the Gamecocks' first play from scrimmage, things slowly went downhill from there.
A high snap on the extra point forced kicker Brian Przybyla to punch his kick wide, beginning a spree of the same mistakes that haunted the Gamecocks in their first two games. The opportunistic Vikings, who also came into the game looking for their first win, took advantage of enough of those mistakes to claim a 33-13 victory.
Sumter falls to 0-3 with the loss, while Spartanburg improves to 1-2.
"The way we came out — we stop them on defense, then we score on the first play — it looked pretty good at the start," said Sumter head coach Paul Sorrells. "But after that we started making too many mistakes, and we are not good enough yet or experienced enough yet to overcome mistakes."
Compounding the mistakes was an inability to get the running game going. Despite getting started with Pressley's 43-yard run, the Gamecocks ended the night with only six yards of offense on the ground.
The Vikings did not have a huge night on the ground either, finishing with 72 yards. But quarterback Nick Prochak stung the Sumter secondary for 227 yards through the air, as he hit wide receivers Scott Harward and Ranbdall Goode for several big gains.
After Pressley's score gave the Gamecocks an early lead, the first of Sumter's big mistakes occurred early in the second quarter when they were set to punt from the Vikings' 40-yard line. The snap sailed over the head of Przybyla and tumbled down to the Sumter 21, where it was recovered by the Vikings. Three plays later, Prochak hit Harward on a 13-yard touchdown, and after Derek Cupstid added the extra point, the Vikings were on top 7-6.
"We had a chance there to pin them down deep in their territory with a good punt, and instead we make a bad snap and give them the the ball deep in our territory," Sorrells said. "Things like that are just hard to overcome."
It did not take Sumter long to make its next mistake. After taking over on their 33 following the kickoff, the Gamecocks gave the ball back to the Vikings on the first play of the drive when quarterback John Kendrick, who had come in for a banged-up Pressley, lost control of the center exchange. Prochak hit Randall Goode on a 31-yard completion following the fumble to move the ball to the two, setting up a two-yard touchdown run by Alton Norris that stretched Spartanburg's lead to 14-6.
Jim Hoshour / Special to The Item Sumter wide receiver Roshawn Mobley catches a touchdown pass from quarterback Kendrick Pressley in the Gamecocks' 35-14 loss to Stratford last week. The Gamecocks host Spartanburg Friday.
Like the Sumter High School football team, Spartanburg High is 0-2. When SHS head coach Paul Sorrells saw the Vikings' record, it made him excited.
"I thought we might get a team that's struggling a little bit too," said Sorrells, whose Gamecocks play host to Spartanburg Friday at Memorial Stadium beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Upon looking at the opponents, scores and the films of the games, Sorrells wasn't as excited.
"I saw a very good football team that lost to two extremely good football teams," Sorrells said of the Vikings, whose losses came to perennial 3A power Union (14-7) and perennial 4A power Northwestern (24-22). "I thought they might be struggling, but they got beat by Union and Northwestern in two good football games."
GOOSE CREEK — At least by playing its game at Stratford a day earlier than planned, the Sumter High School football team can begin to forget its 35-14 loss to the Knights at W.L. Bonds Stadium Thursday night one day sooner.
For Sumter head coach Paul Sorrells, whose team drops to 0-2, it means one more day to get the Gamecocks back in playing shape for next week.
"We've got to be disciplined, didn't play very disciplined tonight," he said.
Stratford, which hosted the game a day earlier because of the threat of category 3 Hurricane Frances, got off to a slow offensive start, but settled down by the second quarter.
The Knights rushed for 119 yards in the first half. Quarterback Davon Greene finished the half with 80 yards passing after his first seven passes of the game fell down as incompletions.
"We've passed the ball really well all spring long, we're just a little bit off right now," said Stratford head coach Ray Stackley, whose team improves to 2-0. "We're working with a new center and three new linemen up front. A lot of times it looks like the quarterback is off target, but lots of times he's getting some people in his face and he's having to throw it over a rusher."
Greene finished the night 7-20 for 145 yards and two interceptions.
The Knights' defense on the other hand, was hot from the start. The Gamecocks' two longest runs from scrimmage in the first half, by quarterback Kendrick Pressley and running back Cedrick Smith, were both for four yards.
Stratford limited Sumter to 16 net yards on the ground on 40 rushing attempts. Its defense sacked quarterbacks Kendrick Pressley and John Kendrick four times in the game.
"We're pretty quick on defense," Stackley said. "We've got some guys up there on the front and some linebackers that are very fast. Sometimes it looks like they're getting blocked pretty good, but they close pretty fast to the football."
For most of the night, either Stratford pinned the Gamecocks back inside their own 20-yard line or Sumter gave the Knights a short field.
A high snap to Sumter punter Brian Przybyla on fourth and long at its own 36 gave Stratford possession at the Sumter 6. Greene scored on a 5-yard option keeper two plays later for the first score of the game with eight minutes left in the first quarter.
About a minute later into the game, the Knights' Isaac Johnson intercepted a Kendrick Pressley pass at the Stratford 42 and ran it back the Sumter six. Two plays later, Greene again punched the ball in on an option keeper to put the Knights up 14-0 with 6:25 left.