COLUMBIA - The Sumter High football team gave Spring Valley a first-half fight at Harry Parone Stadium on Thursday, but the Vikings shut down the Gamecocks in the second half in a 51-34 rout.
The game, which was played early because of the approach of Hurricane Irma, was a tight contest in the first half, but Spring Valley, which improved to 4-0 on the season, took control in the second half.
The Gamecocks, who fell to 3-1, had just 66 rushing yards and 15 passing yards in the second half, while the Vikings outscored them 29-7.
Sumter quarterback Zykiem Jackson had 114 rushing yards on 11 carries in the first half, and finished the night with 126 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. His 76-yard pass to Jalen Rouse set up a Da'Jon Butts touchdown run to close out the first half, but it was the last offensive highlight on the night for the Gamecocks.
Jonathan Henry had 104 yards and a score on 14 carries. Butts had three touchdowns and 21 yards.
The Vikings stumbled early in the game, but wide receiver Malik Wesley singlehandedly brought them back into the game. The junior wideout accounted for quarterback Quincy Hill's four completions for a whopping 212 yards.
All of that yardage came in the first half.
Before Wesley's theatrics, the game opened strong for Sumter.
After Spring Valley took a 3-0 lead on Alex Herrera's 21-yard field goal, Sumter marched down the field and finished off a 9-play, 80-yard drive with a 9-yard Butts touchdown run.
The Gamecocks took a 21-3 lead, converting back-to-back Spring Valley fumbles into scores. Butts took the ball in from five yards out at the 3:43 mark of the first to make it 14-3. Henry made it 21-3 with a 30-yard TD run just a minute later.
Then Wesley took over. He caught his first pass and stretched it into a 51-yard TD run at the 1:02 mark of the first quarter. He found an open lane early in the second and finished a 36-yard score early in the second.
His third pass play was an 86-yard dash for the end zone, which gave Spring Valley a 22-21 lead at the 7:06 mark of the second.
Sumter retook the lead on a huge pass of its own, a Jackson-to-Jalen Rouse connection of 76 yards that put the Gamecocks on the Spring Valley 2-yard line. Butts rushed in for the final score of the first half, which put Sumter ahead 27-22.
Spring Valley commanded the third quarter, scoring 22 unanswered points to sail into the fourth quarter with a 44-27 advantage.
Down 51-27, the Gamecocks scored on a Jackson-to-Tywionne Williams connection with 21 seconds left.