LOCAL SPORTS

On and off the field

Sumter Touchdown Club honors players for gridiron, academic achievements

BY DENNIS BRUNSON
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 1/19/18

The Sumter Touchdown Club Presented by FTC held its season-ending banquet on Thursday at Central Carolina Technical College. The club used the platform to honor local high school football players for their achievements on the field and in the …

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LOCAL SPORTS

On and off the field

Sumter Touchdown Club honors players for gridiron, academic achievements

The Sumter Touchdown Club honored a number of local high
school athletes during its annual banquet on Thursday. The scholar athletes recognized by the club display their plaques.
RIGHT: Lee Glaze, left, presents Crestwood linebacker Camron
Blanding with Defensive Player of the Year award. FAR RIGHT:
Glaze presents Lee Central’s Zurich Scarborough with the Offensive Lineman of the Year award.
The Sumter Touchdown Club honored a number of local high school athletes during its annual banquet on Thursday. The scholar athletes recognized by the club display their plaques. RIGHT: Lee Glaze, left, presents Crestwood linebacker Camron Blanding with Defensive Player of the Year award. FAR RIGHT: Glaze presents Lee Central’s Zurich Scarborough with the Offensive Lineman of the Year award.
MICAH GREEN / THE SUMTER ITEM
Posted

The Sumter Touchdown Club Presented by FTC held its season-ending banquet on Thursday at Central Carolina Technical College. The club used the platform to honor local high school football players for their achievements on the field and in the classroom.

And guest speaker Connor Shaw, the former standout quarterback at the University of South Carolina, gave words to the young men in attendance that they can use both on the field and off the field as well.

The club named its four players of the year. The offensive player is Sumter High School quarterback Zykiem Jackson, the defensive player is Crestwood linebacker Camron Blanding, the offensive lineman is Lee Central's Zurich Scarborough and the special teams player is C.E. Murray's Darius Rush.

Shaw, who just recently was named an assistant coach at Furman University after playing four years in the National Football League, talked about what the players needed to do not only to succeed on the field but in all aspects of life.

"There are four words that I followed as a player," Shaw said. "And they never change; you just have the opportunity to get better at them, to perfect them.

"They are love, humility, service and resilience," he added. "I know you're saying where's the tenacity, toughness, relentlessness? I think all of those are in these four words."

Shaw, who has the most victories of any starting quarterback in USC history, went on to describe what each of those words meant to him. He talked of how love among teammates breeds accountability and trust, how it is hard for him to have a relationship with someone who isn't humble, how humility and service go hand in hand and how a team has to be resilient if it is to achieve to its highest potential.

Shaw also talked of how the athletes have a chance to affect the lives of so many people simply because of being football players.

"Sports, and football specifically, have the biggest platform," he said. "It's beyond the field too. Little kids, they look up to you, you can do things in the community, going to hospitals. It's beyond sports, even though sports initiated that platform.

"Understand your worth carries a little bit more weight. It doesn't have to translate to just college or the NFL either. It's life lessons, things that will go with you when you are beyond football."

The club gave out its Merit Scholarship Awards for the third straight year. It handed out seven scholarships of $500 to seven students after doing five the first two years.

Those who received the scholarships were Clarendon Hall's Dylan Way, Cooper Mota of Sumter, Owen Lewis of Lee Central, Taylor Lee of Laurence Manning, Nyckolas Johnson of Crestwood, Christian Dubose of Robert E. Lee and Tyrell Commander of Crestwood.

The club also honored 12 scholar athletes. Those who received awards were Sumter's Mota, Kevin Carson of Lakewood, LMA's Lee, Jack Owens of Manning, C.E. Murray's Rush, Wilson Hall's Greyson Sonntag, Crestwood's Johnson, Chase Murray of Williamsburg, Clarendon Hall's Way, Lee Central's Lewis, REL's Dubose and Mason Studer of Thomas Sumter Academy.

Lee Central defensive coordinator Lester Davis was named the Assistant Coach of the Year.

Jackson was the leader of the SHS offense. He completed 76 of 128 passes for 1,005 yards and 11 scores before breaking his collarbone in the ninth game of the season. He was leading the team in rushing with 816 yards when he was injured. He scored three touchdowns on 123 carries.

Blanding, a North-South All-Star selection, had 80 tackles and 21 tackles for loss to go along with nine sacks. Scarborough had an 87 percent grade with 23 knockdown blocks.

Rush, a University of South Carolina signee, had 47 catches for 863 yards and 17 touchdowns. He ran for 175 yards and a score, returned two punts for touchdowns and one kickoff for a TD.