SUMMERVILLE -- When Da'jon Butts scored from seven yards out and Roman Childers added the extra point, the Sumter High School football team had a 10-2 lead with 2:16 left in the third quarter of its 5A state playoffs second-round game against Summerville. While not a huge lead, things certainly looked good for the Gamecocks as the Green Wave was having no luck sustaining any offense.
Three minutes, 58 seconds, of actual game time later, Summerville was in possession of a 17-10 advantage. And that's the way the score would remain at Memorial Stadium's John McKissick Field as the Green Wave advanced to the quarterfinals.
Summerville, which improved to 10-2 on the season, will take on defending state champion Dutch Fork on Friday. Sumter finishes its season at 9-3.
"Our defense had played good all night, but then we just let it get away from us," said Gamecock head coach Mark Barnes. "We talked about not allowing explosive plays, but that's what we did down the stretch."
The Green Wave only had 233 yards of total offense, and 154 of that came in the 14:16 of the contest. Also, they did without their starting quarterback, Johnathan Bennett. He went out with a knee injury early in the second quarter.
“You have to give them credit,” Barnes said. “They overcame a lot of adversity there.”
Sumter seemed to have the momentum well in hand in the third quarter. After fumbling the football and having Summerville recover at the Sumter 43-yard line, the Gamecock defense came up with three negative plays, forcing the Wave to punt.
Starting at its 20, Sumter put together a 9-play scoring drive. Quarterback Ontra’ Harvin connected with wide receiver Anthony Dinkins-McCall for a 32-yard gain on the drive. Butts covered the final 24 yards, going in from seven yards out for the score.
Summerville finally got its offense in gear, mainly the passing game between backup quarterback Andre Banks and 6-foot-5-inch wide receiver Shaq Davis.
Banks, who normally plays H back or a slot receiver, connected with Davis for a 12-yard gain on first down. After running back DJ Hancock had a 14-yard run, Banks placed a pass perfectly into the hands of Davis for a 36-yard gain to the Sumter 26.
“Andre has good touch with his passing,” said Summerville head coach Joe Call, the grandson of McKissick, the winningest high school coach ever. “After what happened to Bennett, we were able to catch our breath and see what we could do offensively. We were able to do a lot more than we thought we could.
It looked like the Gamecocks might stymie Summerville again when Banks was called for intentional grounding, leaving it facing third down and 26 yards to go from the 35. However, with three receivers to his left, Banks went to Davis, who was isolated on the right. Davis went up and made a catch for a touchdown. Ray Cotton added the extra point to make it 10-9 with 31 seconds left in the third quarter.
“That was the one play that really killed us,” Barnes said.
It quickly went from bad to worse for Sumter. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Harvin was trying to pass when he was hit from the backside by outside linebacker Colby Taylor, jarring the football loose and the Green Wave recovered at the Sumter 17.
Banks went back to the same well, connecting with Davis for a 13-yard scoring pass with 10:18 remaining in the game. Banks then threw to Olin McCurty for the 2-point conversion to make it 17-10.
Sumter was on the move on the ensuing possession. It started at its 19 and got as far as the Wave 32 before turning the ball over on downs on fourth down.
On the first play after taking over with 5:19 left, Summerville laid the ball on the ground and it looked as though Sumter would recover. However, the Green Wave came up with the ball and picked up three first downs to run out the clock.
“I’m just really proud of my players,” Barnes said. “They’ve stuck with it through adversity, and these seniors have won a lot of games.”
Sumter only managed 218 yards of total offense, 136 of it coming on the ground. Jonathan Henry led the way with 90 yards on 22 carries, while Butts had 54 yards on nine totes.
“We just played a very sloppy game tonight,” Barnes said.
In the first half, Childers booted a 30-yard field goal with 2:34 left in the first quarter to make it 3-0. Summerville got its first-half points when Harvin was called for intentional grounding after fumbling a snap in the end zone, then picking up the ball and throwing it away.
That made it 3-2 with 5:58 left in the first half.