After dropping game one Thursday night, the Lady Gamecocks caught fire and went on to defeat the Lady Knights from West Florence on their own home court. Sumter won by the scores of 12-25, 25-14, 26-24, 25-20. Sumter was lead by Brittany Starling who had 10 kills, 5 blocks, and 5 aces. Also Shaniqua McKnight had 8 kills, 6 aces, and 12 service points. Lauren Dabbs contributed 6 kills, 7 service points, and 1 block. Robbi Winfield added 7 kills, 4 digs, and 15 assists. Lisa Divindo had 10 assists respectively. The Lady Gamecocks will travel to Summerville for a tri-match against Summerville and Colleton County at 5:30 PM. Sumter improves to 6-3 on the season and 2-1 in region 6-4A.
CONWAY - The Conway Tigers finally got the fast start head coach Chuck Jordan had been looking for this season.
Hanging on at the finish was another story.
After jumping out to a 14-0 lead, Conway gave up 21 straight points to Sumter in the second quarter en route to a 35-21 loss on Friday at The Backyard.
Sumter, which had blown four games in the fourth quarter earlier this season, scored twice in the fourth quarter after the Tigers had tied the game.
The Gamecocks appeared to be easy pickings heading into the game, having struggled to a 2-7 record overall and a 0-3 mark in Region VI-4A after last week's 22-19 loss to Carolina Forest.
"You preach and preach and preach preach about having a good start, and you just don't do it," said Jordan, whose team fell to 5-5 overall and 2-2 in the region. "Once you get on your heels, its hard to get off of them.
"Give Sumter credit. They played better than we did. They beat us up front. They're not a very good football team, but they were better than us," Jordan said.
After forcing Sumter to punt on its opening possession, Conway needed just three plays to get into the end zone on a 17-yard scoring run by Chris Brantley with 9:39 left in the first. Dominique Chapman picked off Sumter starting quarterback Frank Gillen and returned it to the Gamecocks' 10, but Conway had to settle for a field goal try, which was blocked by Mariel Cooper.
Cooper picked off Conway passer Robert Nelson on the Tigers' next possession, but Sumter fumbled it away and it was recovered by Michael Ferris, setting up an eight-play 67-yard scoring drive capped by Nelson's 15-yard keeper with 10:44 left in the first half.
That's when things started to fall apart for the Tigers.
Mic Davis came in for Sumter at quarterback and proceeded to dissect the Tiger defense, including a 49-yard strike to Chris Choice, before giving way again to Gillen, who scored from four yards out.
Conway fumbled away the ensuing kickoff, and Davis took over again, first with a 6-yard TD pass to Kameron Dunnican, then another to Dunnican for 27 yards on the next drive as Sumter took a lead into the locker room.
"Look at what we did to help them. That's been our M.O. all season," Jordan said. "I've always said the first thing you've got to do in high school football is not beat yourself. ... We did a lot lot to help them out."
MYRTLE BEACH - The frustration that has become the 2010 Sumter High School football season continued at Carolina Forest on Friday, as the Gamecocks dropped a 22-19 decision to the Panthers to fall to 2-7 on the year, 0-3 in Region VI-4A.
Sumter had the lead on three separate occasion during the game, and took a 19-15 lead early in the fourth quarter when Robert Ross scored on a 5-yard touchdown run. However, Carolina Forest's Harold Atkinson scored on a 25-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter for what proved to be the game's final points.
Carolina Forest improved to 6-3 with the win, 1-2 in the region.
"It's been very frustrating this season," said Sorrells. "At no time have I felt like we weren't playing hard and trying, but it seems like that we continue to find ways to hurt ourselves, and it seems like we haven't been able to make the plays when we need to."
The Gamecock defense came up with a big play on the first play from scrimmage against the Panthers. Carolina Forest started the game with a double reverse, but the Gamecock defense did not fall for the trickery and turned it into a 15-yard loss. Thanks to a 20-yard completion from quarterback Daniel Daly to Jarves Holmes, the Panthers picked up a first down two plays later. Daly then lofted a 25-yard completion to Holmes, setting up a one-yard touchdown run by Atkinson two plays later. Sumter's Josh O'Connor blocked Christian Nwanegwo's extra point, but the Panthers still enjoyed a 6-0 lead with 7:26 left in the first quarter.
"We give up that long third down after we get them in a hole early on, and plays like that have always come back against us," Sorrells said.
After the teams traded interceptions and punts, the Gamecocks got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when quarterback Frank Gillen broke free on a 74-yard touchdown scamper.
"That was a zone read, and he (Gillen) made a good read and kept the ball," Sorrells said. "He showed his speed on that play. He can run."
But Carolina Forest was able to keep the score at 6-6 when Ethan Epps' extra point was blocked.
Carolina Forest had an immediate answer to Gillen's score. Taking over at its 43, CF marched 57 yards in eight plays, grabbing a 12-6 lead on the final play of the drive when Mark Timmons scored on an 8-yard run. The Panthers again failed to convert on the extra point when Nwanegwo's kick fell short.
The Gamecock offense got the last laugh of the first half, sneaking in a touchdown in the final minute. After taking over at midfield following a Carolina punt with 2:19 left on the clock, Gillen tossed a 21-yard completion to wide receiver Kameron Dunican that moved the ball to the Panthers 27. The Gamecocks kept the drive alive when Dunican hauled in a 24-yard completion from Gillen with the Gamecocks facing a fourth down and 13 yards to go from the 30 that moved the ball to the Carolina Fores 6. Gillen scored on a 1-yard run two plays later to tie the game at 12-12. Epps successfully added the extra point, putting the Gamecocks ahead 13-12 with 32 seconds left on the clock
During its 10 possessions in Friday's football game against West Florence High School, Sumter rolled up 342 yards of total offense and punted just one time while holding the Knights to 139 yards of offense. That, however, did not translate into a victory for the Gamecocks.
Five turnovers, a missed field goal and turning the ball over on downs after a first down and goal from the WF 4-yard line added up to a 14-10 loss for SHS on its homecoming at Memorial Stadium.
"It was the same old story for us," said Sumter head coach Paul Sorrells, whose team lost its third straight game to fall to 2-6 overall and 0-2 in Region VI-4A. "We just made too many mistakes, turning the ball over, penalties at bad times. We've just got to find a way to quit doing these types of things."
Sorrells was happy with the way his team responded after taking a 44-0 beating at the hands of South Florence last week.
"We played hard the entire game, gave a great effort," he said. "We're not a great team though, and we can't make the mistakes we're making and expect to win. I've got to do damage control where we keep our heads up."
The Gamecocks had a chance to jump out on top when the Knights, who improved to 4-4 and 1-1, fumbled on their first offensive play of the game with SHS recovering at the WF 25. On third and goal from the 6, Sumter quarterback Frank Gillen, making his first start of the season, was picked off in the end zone by Eric Driggers.
With 43 seconds left in the first half of Sumter High School's football game with South Florence on Friday, the Memorial Stadium scoreboard went completely out. The clock was out for just a few seconds, but when all the lights came back on it revealed the same, ugly truth.
South Florence 34, SHS 0.
The Bruins would make it 41-0 by halftime and go on to a 44-0 rout of the Gamecocks in the Region VI-4A opener for both teams.
"South Florence has got a very good football team," said Sumter head coach Paul Sorrells, whose team fell to 2-5 on the season. "We didn't move the ball or play good defense in the early going and then we turned it over. It snowballed from there and there was nothing we could really do to stop it."
South Florence rolled up 364 yards in the first half, 182 on the ground and 182 through the air, on the way to finishing with 413 yards of total offense. Running back Vincent Johnson was responsible for most of the rushing yards in the first half, picking up 177 on 19 carries. Johnson finished the game with 199 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. He also caught a 7-yard TD pass from quarterback Caleb Griffin for another score.
Bruins head coach Lynn Fleming said his team was doing nothing more than taking advantage of what was presented to it.
"Sumter was giving us a lot of different looks," said Fleming, whose team improved to 5-2 overall. "They were playing a lot of man coverage and they would sometimes take a linebacker out of the box. That's when we would run the ball. We were just trying to take what they were giving us."
Griffin finished the game 12 of 22 for 207 yards and three TD passes. His favorite target was wide receiver Mike Muhammad, who caught five passes for 114 yards.
Mistakes came both early, late and in overtime for the Sumter High School football team in its game against Richland Northeast on Friday at Memorial Stadium, and they ended up costing the Gamecocks in what turned out to be a 28-21 double-overtime loss.
In a battle of 1-3 teams, Sumter High School's varsity football team did Friday what a 4A team is expected to do against a 2A team - win convincingly.
Quarterback Mic Davis completed his first six passes, leading the Gamecocks to four first-half touchdowns, as Sumter rolled up a 42-6 win over the Raiders at Memorial Stadium.
"When you struggle like we have, you'll just about take anything," Sumter head coach Paul Sorrells said. "(It was) a good win, a 42-6 win. I'm very proud of our kids keeping their heads up, coming to practice and continuing to work. Because when you're 1-3, it could just go downhill, but the guys stayed positive."
After quickly driving deep into Keenan territory on its first possession, Sumter turned the ball over. Davis hit wide receiver Kameron Dunnican for a 30-yard completion, then Jason Dozier ran for 10 yards to move the ball to the Raider 18 before a fumble ended the drive.
The second Gamecock possession went much better as Davis hooked up with William Cockerill for 12 yards then tossed a screen pass to Dozier, who caught the ball on the left side of the field, cut all the way across and went 43 yards virtually untouched.
A Cody Lee punt helped to set up the next Gamecock score as the sophomore pinned the Raiders at their 3-yard line. Two plays later, Devin Frederick scooped up a fumble on the 1, and seconds later, Dozier was in the end zone again on a 3-yard run.
Moments later, Dozier completed the scoring trifecta with a breathtaking punt return. Dozier raced forward to catch the punt at the Keenan 46 and raced his way through the Raider special teams on a dead sprint to the end zone for a 21-0 Sumter lead with 11:48 left in the first half.
The Gamecocks' fourth score of the half came at the midway point of the second quarter, on an 8-play, 42-yard drive. Robert Ross actually crossed the goal line twice on the drive, but a holding call negated what would have been a 14-yard scoring run. After the penalty, Davis found Chris Choice for a 13-yard gain to the 3 and Ross carried it in from there on the next play.
The score remained the same as Sumter took over at its 21 with 4:39 left in the third quarter. Eleven plays later, quarterback Tevin McKnight, in his first action since suffering an injury in the season opener, connected with Dunnican for a 19-yard touchdown pass that pushed the Gamecock lead to 35-0 with 11 seconds to go in the quarter.
The only mystery left at that point was if Sumter could maintain the shutout. On the next play, that assumption was very much in doubt as Keenan quarterback Maurice Poole threw a strike to Leontre Johnson that went for 44 yards to the Gamecock 21 as the quarter expired.
Things looked bleak for the Sumter High School Gamecocks midway through the third quarter of their football game against Stratford last Friday. After trailing just 14-7 at halftime, the Knights put up two quick touchdowns in the third quarter, the second coming on a fumble return to make it 28-7 with 6:42 remaining.
"It was crazy. Everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong at the beginning of the third quarter," said offensive guard Miles Scott. "Then we had that big play and we said, 'Hey, this is still within reach.' "
That big play was a screen pass from quarterback Mic Davis to running back Robert Ross that went 87 yards for a touchdown to make it 28-14. And the Gamecocks had reason to believe they could come back and win the game since they had seen a 24-14 lead with less than four minutes remaining against Crestwood turn into a 25-24 loss in the first week of the season.
Two more big scoring plays and a 30-yard field goal by Ethan Epps with no time left on the clock gave Sumter a 31-28 victory that was every bit as surprising as its loss the week before.
"During the game, we were thinking this is starting to look a lot like Crestwood," said wide receiver Kameron Dunnican, who had a 70-yard touchdown reception to tie the game with 2:10 left in the fourth quarter. "We knew we could win the game regardless of anything."
After Ross' TD catch, the Sumter defense stopped Stratford on the ensuing possession. SHS had another quick score on a 54-yard run by running back Jason Dozier to make it 28-21.
After Dunnican's tying score, Stratford fumbled the kickoff and Sumter recovered at the Stratford 25-yard line. After moving to the 17 and letting the time run down to four seconds, Epps came on to attempt a 35-yard field goal.
He missed it, but the Knights were penalized for roughing the kicker. Epps drilled the 30-yarder with no time left for the victory.
"That was just a big win for us," said Scott, who is just one of three returning starters from last year's 10-3 team. "We're such a young and inexperienced team, to come back and win like that gives us a lot of confidence."
The Gamecocks will be playing host to Spartanburg on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. Sumter faced the Vikings twice last season, beating them 38-21 for their first victory of the season and the start of a 10-game winning streak. The second meeting came in the second round of the 4A Division I state playoffs with Spartanburg winning 28-14 and snapping Sumter's 10-game winning streak.
Spartanburg is 1-1 on the season. It defeated Union County 27-19. The Vikings lost to defending 4A DI state champion Dorman 21-7 last week.
"I think since we went up there and beat them last year we felt like we would be able to do the same here," Scott said.
GOOSE CREEK - As far as stinging defeats go, Stratford High School head football coach Ray Stackley felt like he had just suffered one of his worst on Friday.
Sumter head coach Paul Sorrells knows the feeling, having seen his team blow a big lead late in its season opener to Crestwood last week.
Sumter scored 24 unanswered points in the final 18 minutes to snatch victory, 31-28, from the Knights on Ethan Epps' 30-yard field goal at the horn.
"We challenge them before the game to see how we were going to bounce back from last week," Sorrells said. "When they went up 28-7, it looked like we were just about to melt away. It was a real gut check by our team. I am very proud of them."
It was a second-chance opportunity for Epps, who hooked his first attempt, Stratford was flagged for roughing the kicker, capping a nightmarish evening on special teams.
"This is probably one of the toughest I've endured," Stackley said of the loss that dropped his team to 0-2. "We had the game well in hand."
Moments earlier, after Sumter's Kameron Dunnican's 70-yard touchdown catch tied it with 2:10 left, Stratford muffed the ensuing kickoff, setting up Sumter at the Knights' 25.
The Gamecocks moved to Stratford's 18 and ran the clock down to two seconds. Epps' second try was perfect after he moved up five yards.
"We just weren't playing tough," said Sumter coach Paul Sorrells, whose team blew a 10-point lead in under four minutes to lose last week to rival Crestwood 25-24. "We were sort of acting a little bit on the baby side. I think they grew up a lot tonight."
The Gamecocks, who improved to 1-1 on the seaosn, used the big play to get back in it. Stratford led comfortably 28-7 with 6:42 left in the third quarter after DaQwan Richardson returned a fumble 15 yards for a score when a high snap got away from the Sumter punter.
The unraveling began from there as Sumter's offense came to life. The Gamecocks had just 61 yards of offense before the comeback.
Losing a 10-point lead and a game in the final four minutes isn't good for any high school football team, especially one as inexperienced as Sumter High School. All that Gamecock head coach Paul Sorrells has done since Friday's 25-24 loss to cross-county rival Crestwood is preach to let it be a learning moment.
"I think this team - and this is a good thing - it hurt them; it cut them deeply," said Sorrells, whose team travels to Goose Creek on Friday to face Goose Creek. "I want it to hurt them in the right way.
"I told them after the game, 'You're going to go through the hurt, that's already been determined," he said. "Now it depends on what you're going to do with it. You have to try and grow from it and learn from it."
SHS allowed the Knights two big pass plays in the final four minutes that set up a field goal that cut the lead to 24-17 and a touchdown and a two-point conversion that gave them a victory. All of that being said, Sorrells had no complaints about how his team had played to that point or the effort it put forth.
"The boys played hard throughout," he said. "Everything that could have happened, happened in the last four minutes. There were three or four plays where, if we make the play, the game's over.
"We were definitely in control of the game (to that point)."
Sumter will be taking on a Stratford squad that lost its season opener to Berkeley 40-14. Sorrells isn't putting any stock in the outcome of that game though.
"They're big; they're huge up front on both sides of the football," he said of Stratford, which also has the nickname of Knights. "Regardless of their start, we've got to be ready to play on Friday. They lost to a very good team in Berkeley.
"I think they're trying to find their identity like we are."
Stratford, which trailed 27-6 at halftime, has a freshman starting at quarterback in Jacob Park. He completed 9 of 25 passes for 140 yards against Berkeley.
The Gamecocks will more than likely be playing without the services of quarterback Tevin McKnight, who started last week's contest. McKnight suffered a shoulder injury late in the first half and is doubtful for the Stratford game.
For the second straight season, the Crestwood High School football team used its most secret of weapons - the forward pass - to beat cross-county rival Sumter High.
The Knights, who beat Sumter 30-27 on a 66-yard touchdown pass in the final minute last year, used two big pass plays in the final four minutes to set up a field goal and a touchdown that led to the winning two-point conversion run by David Dinkins with four seconds left in a 25-24 victory at Memorial Stadium on Friday in the season opener for both teams.
"We've got some guys who can throw it and catch it a little bit," said Crestwood head coach Keith Crolley, whose team is known for its run-heavy Wing-T offense. "(The coaches) were telling me we could throw the ball on Sumter because they were stacking the line against the run. I just listened to them."
Sumter was leading 24-14 and was deep in Knights territory when it faced fourth down and three yards to go at the Crestwood 8-yard line. Instead of attempting what would have been a 25-yard field goal to potentially go up 27-14, Gamecock head coach Paul Sorrells chose to go for the first down. Running back Robert Ross came up a yard short, but Crestwood was still down 10 with 3:53 remaining in the game and was 94 yards away from the SHS goal line.
"I should have gone for the field goal there," Sorrells said. "Our thinking was it would still be a two-score game, and we wanted to try and make it a three-score game. We didn't anticipate them making the plays they did though."
Crestwood returned to the field with Raymone Rogers at quarterback for the first time and regular quarterback Willie Glover lined up at wide receiver. Rogers put up a pass to Glover, who was in double coverage, and he came down with the pass around the Crestwood 35.
He then weaved and cut back all the way to the SHS 5 for an 89-yard gain.
After a one-yard run, the Knights had three straight penalties push it back to the 34. It used two runs to get back to the 13 and set up a 30-yard field goal by Thomas Ray with 1:53 left to make it 24-17.
"Willie came and said, 'Coach, let's kick it,' " Crolley said. "He said he had confidence in the defense and that we could score again."
With two timeouts left, the Knights were able to stop the clock after Sumter's first two plays and forced it to punt from the Crestwood 48. The Knights got the ball back with 46 seconds left, but at their 29. However, Glover connected with Anthony Radke for a 34-yard gain to the Sumter 37 on the first play. Glover ran for six yards on the next play and the Gamecocks were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct to move it to the 16.
Sumter was called for pass interference on the next play, moving the ball half the distance to the goal for a first down at the 8 with 20 seconds left. Glover ran a keeper around the right end for three yards and barely got out of bounds to stop the clock with 14 seconds left. He dropped back to pass on the next play and appeared he would be sacked, avoiding two rushers. He then ran to the right side of the field and into the end zone to make it 24-23 with four seconds left.
On the two-point conversion attempt, Dinkins took the handoff and went in off the left side for the winning points.
"We've got to start making plays when we have the opportunity to make them," Sorrells said. "We had double coverage (on Glover), both of them went up for the ball and he came down with it. Until we start making plays, we're going to lose games like that."