Sumter cruises past Lakewood 49-7

Gamecocks improve to 4-0

BY DENNIS BRUNSON
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 9/8/18

The Sumter High School football team completed a sweep of the Sumter County championship for a fourth straight season with a 49-7 victory over Lakewood on Friday at J Frank Baker Stadium.

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Sumter cruises past Lakewood 49-7

Gamecocks improve to 4-0

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Sumter High School rolled to a 49-7 varsity football victory over Sumter School District rival Lakewood on Friday at J. Frank Baker Stadium. However, Gamecock head coach Mark Barnes wasn't particularly pleased with his team's performance.

"I really think this may have been our worst performance of the year," said Barnes, whose team improved to 4-0 on the season. "We didn't do a good job controlling the line of scrimmage. We also had too many turnovers (three) and too many penalties (nine for 77 yards, including seven for 65 in the first half).

"We've been lucky; we've had three turnovers in each of the last two games and we won (34-10 over Conway las week) both of them. We've got to clean that up. We can't keep doing that or we will lose."

Sumter sill dominated the Gators, who fell to 3-1. The Gamecocks had 409 yards of total offense and limited Lakewood to 101. Sumter had 328 yards at halftime, including 232 passing with 14 first downs. The Gators had just 20 yards and one first down.

Lakewood played the game without starting quarterback and East Carolina commitment Malik Richardson. The Gators' leading rusher, Richardson suffered a leg injury in last week's 27-26 victory over Manning.

"His legs are everything to his game, and if he's hurt we're not going to play him," said Lakewood head coach Larry Cornelius. "Plus, it's a non-region game, and our goal is to be ready for region play. I know this (Sumter) game is big to a lot of people, but it is just one game. It is what is."

"I wish he (Richardson) would have played tonight because I think we would have stopped him too," Barnes said. "But he's a good young man, and a great student athlete. I hope he gets better quickly."

Sumter scored on its first possession. Quarterback Ontra' Harvin connected with wide receiver Tylee Craft for a 27-yard touchdown pass with 7:51 left in the first quarter. Dyson Roberts added the extra point to make it 7-0.

When the Gamecocks got the ball back, Harvin completed a 14-yard pass to Tony Dinkins-McCall for a first down at the Gator 30-yard line. However, he fumbled on the next play and Lakewood recovered. Harvin didn't play the remainder of the half.

"I've told him about running with the ball loose, and if he's going to continue doing that he's going to be spending a lot of time with me on the sideline," Barnes said. "Ontra' has played well for us, but he's got to do a better job protecting the ball."

Sophomore Hayden Vasquez came on and had a strong remainder of the half. He completed nine of 10 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown and also had a 41-yard scoring run. That came at the end of his first drive of the game to make it 14-0 with 2:05 left in the first quarter.

A big chunk of his passing yardage did come on one play that could have ended up as a big play for the Gators.

Throwing from his 18-yard line, Vasquez had a pass batted up in the air and it appeared two Lakewood defenders had a shot at intercepting the ball. Instead, Sumter's 6-foot-3-inch wide receiver KeShawn Croskey grabbed it and went 70 yards before being pulled down at the Lakewood 12. Running back Jonathan Henry scored on the next play to make it 21-0 with 8:31 left in the first half.

"That was a huge play," Cornelius said. "It looked we were going to get it for a pick six (returning it for a touchdown). It was still a tight game at that point. We get that and it may change things. Football is a game of momentum, and Sumter had the momentum all night."

Henry scored on a 2-yard run and Vasquez threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Dinkins-McCall to give Sumter a 34-0 lead at halftime.

Sumter made it 40-0 on a 2-yard run by Henry. The Gamecocks took a 42-0 lead when the snap on a punt went out of the back of the end zone in the fourth quarter. On the free kick, Antonio Roach grabbed the football at midfield and returned it for a touchdown.

Lakewood got 80 yards of its offense on its final possession. Cody Windham, who started at quarterback, completed a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Quentin Hodge. That set up a 26-yard scoring pass to Hodge with three seconds left. Frankie Gonzalez added the extra point.

Windham finished 7-for-22 for 75 yards and the touchdown pass against an interception.

"Cody (Windham) was out there throwing it around," Cornelius said. "We didn't execute the way we wanted to, but he wasn't afraid out there."

Sumter travels to Rock Hill on Friday to take on Northwestern. Lakewood will be playing its homecoming game against Hemingway.