Only a few people each year get a chance to replace an athlete rated as No. 1 at his position in the country.
Sumter High School's Dyson Roberts is one of those. He has taken over the punting chores for the Gamecocks with the graduation of Pressley Harvin, who is now punting for Georgia Tech and was deemed by most as the nation's top punter a year ago.
Roberts did his predecessor proud on Friday in SHS' 14-13 loss to Conway.
Roberts punted seven times with a pedestrian average of 34.0 yards a punt. However, four of the punts were downed inside the Tigers' 20-yard and two of them nestled inside the 5.
"I was just going through my routine," Roberts said. "I felt pretty good out there. I think I may have had one other game similar to that this season."
For his performance, Roberts has been selected as The Sumter Item Special Teams Player of the Week. Thomas Sumter Academy quarterback Eli Kessinger is the Offensive Player of the Week, TSA offensive tackle Mason Studer is the Offensive Lineman of the Week and Clarendon Hall outside linebacker Zyan Gilmore is the Defensive Player of the Week.
Players are selected based on nominations from local high school coaches. Selections are made by The Sumter Item.
The quartet will be honored at the weekly meeting of the Sumter Touchdown Club presented by Farmers Telephone Cooperative on Friday. The meeting 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 Crestwood High School and Clemson linebacker Maurice Nelson.
Roberts helped Sumter win the field position battle throughout the game, especially in the second quarter. He placed the ball inside the Conway 5 on successive punts and the defense forced the Tigers to punt after three downs.
However, SHS couldn't take advantage of starting at the Conway 45, 35 and 32 on successive possessions.
"He had a really good game," Sumter head coach Mark Barnes said of Roberts following Friday's game. "He certainly helped us with field position."
Roberts, a sophomore, punted for Alice Drive Middle School, but didn't punt last season. He said Barnes came to him and asked him if he would give punting a try.
"I played soccer and coach asked me if I would be interested," Roberts said. "I said I would give it a try and I've dedicated myself to it."
Kessinger completed 21 of 32 passes for 417 yards and six touchdowns against just one interception in Thomas Sumter's 58-27 victory over Williamsburg Academy.
Studer led the way up front, grading out at 91 percent with one pancake block.
Gilmore had one interception, one fumble recovery, three solo tackles, two assists and one tackle for loss in Clarendon Hall's 80-34 victory over Newberry Academy. However, Gilmore did much more than that.
He had three receptions for 110 yards and two touchdowns while carrying the ball one time for 37 yards. He also had a punt return for 30 yards.