The Sumter Item bestows honors on quartet


The Carolina Forest High School football team was able to get off 60 plays in its game against Sumter last Friday, six more than the Gamecocks. The Panthers though had just 230 yards of total offense compared to 305 for SHS in its 29-20 victory.

One man who had a lot to do with limiting CF's offensive output was outside linebacker Antonio Roach. The junior finished with 15 tackles, two quarterback sacks, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble and one pass breakup. Because of his performance, Roach has been selected as The Sumter Item Defensive Player of the Week.

Lakewood quarterback Malik Richardson was named the Offensive Player of the Week, Robert E. Lee Academy offensive tackle Billy Jackson was selected as the Offensive Lineman of the Week and C.E. Murray's Tyrese Walters was chosen as the Special Teams 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 Kyle Krantz, a defensive analyst for the University of South Carolina football team.

Gamecock head coach Mark Barnes said Roach has been solid for his defensive unit the entire season.

"He played strong safety on junior varsity last year, but we moved him to outside linebacker," Barnes said. "He plays with a strong motor every game and he plays hard. He's very physical, especially for his size (5-feet-8-inches, 175 pounds), and he plays very well in space.

"He's certainly been a strong player for us all season."

Richardson completed 7 of 14 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 108 yards and another score on 13 carries in the Gators' 38-35 loss to Darlington.

"Malik has been solid for us all season," said first-year LHS head coach Larry Cornelius. "He has around 1,500 yards of total offense (passing for 886 yards and running for 733 for 2-7 Lakewood). He's not quick, but he's fast; he runs a 4.6 (seconds) 100-yard dash. So when you've got 6-4, 200 pounds running a 4.6 right at you, he's tough to bring down.

"He's very durable and he doesn't shy away from contact."

Jackson graded out a 88 percent and had two knockdown blocks in REL's 35-20 victory over Florence Christian School. The Cavaliers rushed for 210 yards on 37 carries and finished with 287 yards of total offense.

"He has really good feet," Robert E. Lee head coach David Rankin said of his 6-3, 260-pound left tackle, who is getting looks from Newberry and North Greenville. "When he gets on you, he stays on you. He can really play."

Walters connected on a 37-yard field goal, was perfect on all five of his extra point attempts and had four touchbacks on kickoffs in C.E. Murray's 40-8 victory over Branchville.

"He's a huge advantage for us," War Eagles head coach Chad Wilkes said of Walters. "He has missed just one extra point this season, and 75 percent of his kickoffs are touchbacks. That's a huge weapon for us, him being able to put it in the end zone."

"We haven't needed him to kick any field goals because of our offense, but he drilled this one. It's nice to know you have him there."