Moving forward

Sumter, Lakewood aim to put last week’s disappointing losses behind them as they meet in county clash at Memorial Stadium


Both coming off disappointing losses last week, the Sumter and Lakewood High School football teams have put their respective losses behind them and have their attention solely on each other.

The Gamecocks, who suffered their first loss of the season by falling to Spring Valley 51-34 last week, will play host to the 2-2 Gators at Sumter Memorial Stadium's Freddie Solomon Field beginning at 7:30 p.m.

"We've really moved on from last week's game," said SHS head coach Mark Barnes, whose team is 3-1 and is ranked 10th among 5A schools in the S.C. Prep Media Football Poll. "We haven't really thought about it that much other than we lost to a good team.

"Now, we've worked on the things that we did wrong so we don't do them again. Our focus has been on Lakewood and preparing for them and that this for the county championship."

Sumter will be trying to sweep its games against fellow Sumter School District schools Crestwood and LHS for the third straight time under Barnes. The Gamecocks beat the Knights 21-6 earlier this season.

LHS has suffered two straight losses after starting the season with two straight victories under first-year head coach Larry Cornelius. Lakewood dropped a 30-22 decision to Colleton County last week.

The Gators led 7-3 at halftime before allowing 27 second-half points.

"It was a disappointing loss because it's a game that we know we could have won," Cornelius said. "They're continuing to work hard and the effort is there. As long as I get the effort I'm happy."

SHS jumped out to a 21-3 lead over the undefeated Vikings, but turnovers and big plays turned that around. Sumter led 27-22 at halftime, but the Vikings scored 22 points in the third quarter to jump to a 44-27 lead.

The Gamecocks had 421 yards, rushing for 313 yards, but it allowed 512 yards. SV rushed for 307 and passed for 205.

Jonathan Henry rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries for SHS. Quarterback Zykiem Jackson rushed for 99 yards on 16 carries and completed 7 of 13 passes for 108 yards and one score.

Jackson leads Sumter in rushing with 410 yards and one score on 54 carries. Henry has 305 yards and two scores on 47 carries, Da'jon Butts has 138 yards and seven TDs.

Jackson has completed 32 of 57 passes for 397 yards and three scores against one interception. Jalen Rouse is his leading receiver with 15 catches for 212 yards and one TD.

Sumter had allowed just 27 points before the Spring Valley game. Cornelius is impressed with what he's seen of the Gamecock defense though.

"They've got a great defense," Cornelius said. "They rally to the football, get after it and are well-coached."

Quarterback Malik Richardson is the catalyst of the Gators offense. He has completed 34 of 65 passes for 390 yards and two TDs against three picks. He also leads the team in rushing with 288 yards and five TDs on 45 carries.

He is not alone in running the football though. Lamont Dubdley has rushed for 173 yards on 31 carries with 139 of those coming on 24 carries. Travius Epps had rushed for 186 yards and two scores on 30 carries.

Quinten Hodge is LHS' leading receiver with 14 catches for 132 yards.

"Lakewood is a very athletic team," Barnes said. "Their quarterback is a great athlete and they're doing a lot of things on offense, much different than last season."