Twenty-five players have been selected to the 2018 The Sumter Item All-Area Football Team.
The team is selected based on nominations from the head coaches of the seven South Carolina High School League in Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties that …
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The team will be honored at the Sumter Touchdown Club banquet on Thursday, Jan. 18, at Central Carolina Technical College Health Sciences Center located on South Main Street beginning at 6:30 p.m. Former Wofford College football head coach Mike Ayers will be the guest speaker.
Sumter running back Jonathan Henry is the Area Player of the Year. Henry's head coach, Mark Barnes, is the Area Coach of the Year. Henry rushed for 1,341 yards and 19 touchdowns on 227 carries for the Gamecocks, who went 10-1 on the season and went 9-0 in the regular season. Henry averaged 117 yards rushing per game and 5.7 yards per carry. He also caught 8 passes for 117 yards and two more touchdowns.
Henry is joined in the backfield by Lakewood quarterback Malik Richardson and Crestwood running back Damontae Furman.
Richardson, a Touchstone Energy Bowl North-South All-Star selection who signed with Western Carolina, led the 3-6 Gators in both rushing and passing. He ran for 964 yards and eight scores on 177 carries, while completing 69 of 137 passes for 938 yards and five scores. Furman rushed for 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Knights, who went 2-8 and reached the 4A state playoffs.
The wide receivers are Joshua Simon of Crestwood, Tony Dinkins-McCall of Sumter and Aaron Smith of Manning.
Simon, a North-South All-Star selection and a Western Kentucky signee, played both quarterback and wide receiver for the Knights. He had 1,200 all-purpose yards and was responsible for 13 touchdowns. Dinkins-McCall had 51 catches for 679 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 13.3 yards per catch and 62 yards per game, and he had 13 kickoff returns for 360 yards - a 27.7 average - and a touchdown. Smith had 37 catches for 570 yards and four scores for the Monarchs, who went 7-4 and reached the 3A state playoffs.
The offensive line is made up of Sumter's Zion Nelson, Tayvian Gass and John Adams, Crestwood's Zyricq Rufus and Manning's Jamir Stukes.
Nelson, a Shrine Bowl selection who signed with Miami, graded out at 84 percent with 33 knockdown blocks. Gass also played in the Shrine Bowl and signed with Wofford. He graded out a 77 percent with 59 knockdowns. Adams graded out at 77 percent with 27 knockdown blocks. Rufus had an 85 percent grade with 20 knockdowns. Stukes played left tackle and was the Monarchs' top lineman, according to Manning head coach Keith West.
Sean Swaringer of Scott's Branch is the all-purpose player. Swaringer rushed for 1,230 yards on 172 carries and caught six passes for 88 yards, for the Eagles, who went 3-7 and played in the first round of the 1A state playoffs. He had nine TDs receiving and rushing. He completed 11 passes for 289 yards and five touchdowns. As a linebacker on defense, Swaringer had 51 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, two quarterback sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Sumter's Dyson Roberts is the placekicker. Roberts connected on four of seven field goal attempts, with two of them over 40 yards with a long of 44. He had 30 touchbacks on 72 kickoffs, and averaged 34 yards a punt on 30 punts.
The defensive line is made up of Eric Watts of Sumter, Dymerius Atkinson of Lee Central and Jamal Anderson of Lakewood.
Watts, a North-South selection who signed with Connecticut, had 38 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 8 sacks and two forced fumbles. Atkinson led Lee Central, which went 2-8, with 11 tackles for loss and eight sacks while recording 45 tackles. He forced a fumble and recovered one as well. Anderson had 57 tackles, six TFLs, five sacks and one fumble recovery.
The linebackers are Keilah Dupree of Manning, Crestwood's Jamar Holliday and Donte' Coleman and Antonio Roach of Sumter.
Dupree had 85 tackles, 12 TFLs and three sacks, while Holliday had 60 tackles, four sacks, 12 TFLs and one interception. Coleman led Sumter in tackles with 95 to go with 12 TFLs, 1 sacks and two forced fumbles. Roach had 73 tackles, 16 TFLs, five sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown. He also blocked a punt.
The defensive backs are O'Donnell Fortune and Melvin Lundy of Sumter, JaVontae' Jones of Lakewood and Kendrick Lesesne of Scott's Branch.
Fortune led Sumter with five interceptions to go with 48 tackles, 3 TFLs and one fumble recovery. Lundy had 35 tackles, two TFLs and two interceptions. He also returned 15 punts for 294 yards, a 19.6 average. Jones had 54 tackles and two INTs, while Lesesne had 50 tackles, five TFLs, two sacks, one interception, five passes broken up, three caused fumbles and one fumble recovery. Offensively, Lesesne rushed for 396 yards and four TDs on 69 carries. He caught two passes for 43 yards.
The punter is Ja'Quaze Myers of Lee Central. He averaged 40.8 yards on 58 punts.
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