David Rankin has come to expect outstanding performances from Bryce Barrett, who has been the starting quarterback for the Cavalier football team since the middle of his freshman season. Barrett led REL to the SCISA 1A state title as a sophomore and to the 2A state championship game last year as a junior.
Barrett has proven himself to be more than capable to beat an opponent with both his feet and his arm, but he took it to another level throwing the football last week.
"I've had Bryce pass for 300 yards in a game before," Rankin said. "But he has never done what he did last week."
What the senior did was complete 21 of 27 passes for 391 yards and five touchdowns in Lee's 51-32 victory over Spartanburg Christian. For good measure, he ran for 74 yards and another score on 10 carries."
For his efforts, Barrett was selected as The Sumter Item Offensive Player of the Week. Crestwood High School middle linebacker Camron Blanding was chosen the Defensive Player of the Week, Manning High's Keilah Dupree was named the Special Teams Player of the Week and Sumter High offensive guard Cameron Gaymon was named the Offensive Lineman of the Week.
The quartet will be honored at the weekly meeting of the Sumter Touchdown Club presented by FTC on Friday. It will be held at the Swan Lake Visitors Center beginning at 7:15 a.m. The visitors center is located inside the gates of Swan Lake-Iris Gardens on West Liberty Street.
The guest speaker on Friday will be former South Carolina State head coach and College Football Hall of Famer Willie Jeffries.
Barrett admitted he enjoyed having the opportunity to chunk the football around some.
"It was a different feeling," said Barrett, who has led Robert E. Lee to a 5-2 start. "It's usually more balanced (in the numbers) between running and passing, but we saw some things where I might have more chances to throw the football.
"It was a great feeling to throw it so much," he added. "I normally don't get to sling it around like that."
"Teams have seemed to focus on trying to take away his running," Rankin said of Barrett. "He's a special player. I don't know if he could play quarterback for just anybody, but I think he could play somewhere on any football team.
"I don't know what 'it' is, but he has it."
Blanding had 12 tackles, three tackles for loss and one quarterback sack in Crestwood's 26-0 victory over Darlington in the Region VI-4A opener for both teams.
"Camron had a pretty good game for us on Friday," said Knights head coach Roosevelt Nelson, whose team is 4-3 overall. "He had a great week of practice leading up to the game. He's been working hard on being a leader on defense. We're happy to have him out there."
Manning suffered its first loss of the season in its Region VII-3A opener, falling to Hanahan 34-28. Not much, if any, blame can be placed on Dupree though. He blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown, and he also recovered a kickoff. As an outside linebacker, Dupree had 14 tackles and one TFL.
"He came in hard off the edge," Monarchs head coach Keith West said of the blocked punt. "He's long, rangy, very fast and runs well. He came in and blocked the punt, stayed on his feet and ran past the punter to cover the football in the end zone."
Gaymon became the starter at left guard for Sumter during his off week. He made the coaches look good as he graded out at 74 percent and had four knockdown blocks as the Gamecocks rushed for 274 yards in their 31-20 victory over South Florence.
"He had been a backup tackle and we had been playing him at tight end to get him on the field," SHS head coach Mark Barnes said of Gaymon. "We decided he was one of our five best linemen and we needed him on the field.
"We put him at a new position and he had a great game on Friday. We're proud of him."