By DENNIS BRUNSON
DALZELL - The more Sumter High School got the football in the first quarter of its game with Crestwood on Friday, the easier it got.
Well, at least for the first three series of the game, but it still …
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Well, at least for the first three series of the game, but it still ended up being easy pickings for the Gamecocks after that.
SHS needed just 10 plays to score four touchdowns in the first quarter and led 42-0 at halftime on the way to a 63-2 win over its Sumter School District rival at Donald L. Crolley Memorial Stadium.
"We looked better," Gamecocks head coach Mark Barnes said with a laugh as he referenced his team's 8-turnover performance in a 28-21 win over Rock Hill in last week's season opener.
"They (the Knights) just caught us on a bad night. We came out and really played well. There really isn't much difference (between Crestwood and Rock Hill) defensively. We just came out and played really well."
Barnes gave kudos to his offensive line. After struggling mightily against Rock Hill, it helped the Gamecocks pick up 410 yards of total offense. SHS ran for 218 yards and quarterback Hayden Vasquez passed for 192 yards and four touchdowns -- all in the first half.
"They just really improved in a big way up front," Barnes said. "They talk about teams making the biggest improvement from the first game to the second -- that's what they did."
Sumter wasted little time getting on the scoreboard. After turning the Knights out in three downs in their first series, the Gamecocks needed just four plays to get in the end zone after starting at their 42.
Quarterback Hayden Vasquez connected with running back Tony Dinkins-McCall for a 5-yard gain before going up top to wide receiver Tylee Craft for a 29-yard pickup to CHS 24. After Dinkins-McCall was dropped for a 2-yard loss, Vasquez connected with wide receiver Marcus Lane for a 26-yard touchdown pass. Placekicker Dyson Roberts added the first of nine successful extra-point attempts to make it 7-0 with 8:45 remaining in the first quarter.
Sumter needed just two plays the next time it got the ball. After a 1-yard gain on first down, Vasquez went deep to Craft, a North Carolina commitment, for a 46-yard scoring bomb to make it 14-0 with 5:55 to go.
SHS needed just one play to score the next time it had possession. Dinkins-McCall broke a couple of tackles in the middle of the line, broke it out to left and sprinted 57 yards for a touchdown to make it 21-0 with 3:35 left in the first quarter.
After recording 3-and-outs on Crestwood's first three possessions, Sumter got an interception by middle linebacker Deshawn McKnight to set the offense up at the CHS 32.
The Gamecocks needed three plays to get the inside this time, the final 22 coming on a shovel pass from Vasquez to make it 28-0 with 2:29 still left in the first quarter.Needless to say, Crestwood head coach Roosevelt Nelson was not a happy man."There's really nothing to say," said Nelson, whose team fell to 0-2 on the season. "We just have a mental block when we play Sumter, and until we get over that we're going to struggle with them."I don't know what it is, but we just come out and don't play well against them. Hats off to Sumter though; they've got a very good team."
Sumter actually had to piece together a pit of a drive for its fifth touchdown. It needed six plays to go 46 yards. Running back Nathan Harris-Waynick went the final 15 yards for the TD to make it 35-0 with 8:24 remaining in the first half.
The Gamecocks' final touchdown of the half came on the first play of a drive. Vasquez connected with running back Mi'Con Young for a 44-yard scoring pass.
The Knights had no first downs in the first half as Sumter held them to minus 34 yards of total offense. That included minus 41 yards on the ground.
Crestwood ran 26 offensive plays in the first half and only eight went for positive yards. Ten of the running plays went for minus yards, three went for no yardage and the Knights threw four incompletions and one interception.
Vasquez, who threw three interceptions against one touchdown in the win over Rock Hill, had a tremendous first half. He completed eight of 11 passes for 192 yards and four touchdowns.
Craft had two catches for 75, and Lane had two for 48 yards.
SHS received the second-half kickoff and started at its 42. The Gamecocks picked up where they left off as Dinkins-McCall broke one to the outside and went 58 yards for the score. Roberts' PAT made it 49-0 with 11:32 left in the third quarter.
Crestwood looked like it had its first first down of the game on its first play of the second half. However, it ended in a fumble with SHS recovering at the Knights' 40.
The Gamecocks gave the ball to Harris-Waynick four times to get in the end zone, the final one good for a 22-yard TD. Sumter's final touchdown was 19-yard run by Nyquan Thames.
Crestwood scored its first points of the season when the ball was snapped over the head of SHS backup quarterback Ryan McCants and he fell on it in the end zone.
The Knights have yet to score an offensive point this season. They didn't get a first down until the fourth quarter, finishing with two.
"We just have to continue to work hard and improve,"Nelson said.
Barnes was pleased with the way his team in the midst of adversity when a handful of players chose to quit.
"I couldn't be more proud of my guys for what they went through when we had some people jump ship," Barnes said. "They just came out and worked hard every day."
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