DALZELL -- The Thomas Sumter Academy football team hosted the Warriors of Spartanburg Christian Academy on Friday in both its home opener and its first game in SCISA Region II-2A, looking to bounce back from its 13-7 loss to Orangeburg Prep last week.
TSA put forth a valiant effort, but the rushing attack of Spartanburg Christian would prove to be too impactful as the Generals lost 50-34 at General Field.
“We didn’t compete defensively,” said Thomas Sumter head coach Troy Kessinger. “They could have called anything in their playbook and we couldn’t have stopped it.”
Spartanburg Christian opened the game with a 5-play, 67-yard drive capped off with a 28-yard rushing touchdown from running back Lucas Neidlinger to give the Warriors an early 6-0 lead. The Generals, however, responded with a quick 5-play drive of their own. It was finalized with a 15-yard rushing touchdown from running back Trey Holladay and a successful extra point to give TSA a 7-6 lead with 8:11 left in the first quarter.
Spartanburg Christian went on to open a 20-7 lead entering the second quarter.
Thomas Sumter won the second quarter through quarterback Eli Kessinger’s passing.Two long touchdown passes to running back Richard Huntley, one a 30-yarder and one a 50-yarder, would narrow the Warriors’ lead to 28-21 at halftime.
The Generals carried that momentum into the second half when running back Garrett Hassler scored on a 14-yard run to tie the game at 28-28.
Spartanburg Christian regained the lead on another TD run by Neidlinger to take a 34-28 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Warriors began the fourth quarter with the ball on the Generals’ 47-yard line and one play later running back Corey Nix broke off a 44-yard run to the end zone to make it 42-28 with 11:14 left in the game.
After forcing a Thomas Sumter punt, the Warriors got the ball with 9:43 left and executed a 10-play, 78-yard drive that would burn almost six minutes off the game clock. It ended with a 36-yard Neidlinger touchdown run.
Quarterback Jonathan Gaminde and running backs Nix and Neidlinger rushed for a total of 531-yards and seven TDs.
TSA plays host to Augusta Christian School on Friday. When asked what his team’s focus would be going into the game, Kessinger said “Not giving up 50 (points).”