Bringing in new blood: Sumter High School to face Dutch Fork, Crestwood to meet Irmo in Sertoma Club Jamboree

By DENNIS BRUNSON dennis@theitem.com
Posted 8/14/19

The Sumter Sertoma Club will be hosting its 38th annual football jamboree on Friday at Memorial Stadium. It will once again include the high school football teams from Sumter, Crestwood, Lakewood and Lee Central, but it's the other two teams that …

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Bringing in new blood: Sumter High School to face Dutch Fork, Crestwood to meet Irmo in Sertoma Club Jamboree

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The Sumter Sertoma Club will be hosting its 38th annual football jamboree on Friday at Memorial Stadium. It will once again include the high school football teams from Sumter, Crestwood, Lakewood and Lee Central, but it's the other two teams that will be adding a different feel to the festivities this year.

Three-time defending 5A state champion Dutch Fork will be the foe for Sumter in its two 12-minute quarters scrimmage, while Crestwood will be taking on 5A school Irmo. Lakewood and Lee Central will face off in the other scrimmage.

"We're hoping to have more people," said Gamecocks head coach Mark Barnes, whose team will be facing Dutch Fork in the middle scrimmage beginning at approximately 8 p.m. "That's one of the reasons we scheduled two outstanding teams in Dutch Fork and Irmo. We're getting to face some really great opponents, and we're hoping our fans will come out not only to see these teams, but to see us and where we're at."

Crestwood and Irmo will play the first scrimmage, which is scheduled for 7. However, with the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature Monitoring, the start of the jamboree could be delayed like it was last year for almost an hour due to the heat and humidity.

While Crestwood head coach Roosevelt is happy for the fans to get a chance to see some new teams, that's not the biggest concern for him and his team.

"We're not so much excited about the opportunity to play a 5A school as we are to have the chance to put our best foot forward," said Nelson of his 4A team. "We're excited to have the opportunity to get better in all three phases of the game."

Lakewood and Lee Central faced each other in last season's jamboree. While the scrimmage scheduled for approximately 9 p.m. technically doesn't mean anything, Gators head coach Larry Cornelius said it is very important for his squad.

"Even though this doesn't count, but you want to win this because it's the last one before the regular season," said Cornelius, who is set to begin his third season at Lakewood. "This is also big because it gives you a chance to clean things up.

"I think this is a good matchup for us going into Game 1 against Colleton County (on Aug. 23)."

Stallions head coach Justin Danner thinks Lakewood is a good measuring stick for his squad.

"To go out against a 4A football program is good for us," Danner said of his 2A program. "And they do a great job over there. I know they're not where they want to be, but they're taking steps forward in their program."

Dutch Fork not only went undefeated last season, but it completely obliterated its foes. In 13 games, the Silver Foxes had only one game in which they scored less than 50 points (47-14 over Summerville in the lower state finals). Defensively, it had four shutouts and only gave up 20 or more points three times.

Barnes hopes this scrimmage will give him and his team perspective on where it stands.

"We want to play teams like these because it gives us a chance to gauge ourselves and see where we are heading into the season by facing quality opponents," said Barnes, whose team went undefeated in the regular season last year before falling in the second round of the 5A state playoffs to finish 10-1.

Sumter has had road scrimmages against Dorman and Fort Dorchester. Barnes said the Gamecocks struggled early against Dorman before playing better at the end, and that they did much better against Fort Dorchester on Monday.

Crestwood is coming off a 2-9 season that ended with a loss to Hartsville in the first round of the 4A playoffs. Nelson likes where his team entering the scrimmage against Irmo, which was 5-5 last year.

"We're on track," he said. "We're making progress; I'm not seeing us digress in any of the three phases. I'm seeing us get better each time out."

Both Cornelius and Danner have seen their teams get better.

"I think we've improved each scrimmage so far," said Cornelius, whose team went 3-6 last year and missed out on the playoffs. "I think we've taken one step forward each time so far."

"Our assessment of where we are is if we don't have eight or nine guys back on offense and eight or nine guys back on defense, then your focus is on getting yourself better," said Danner, whose team went 2-8 last year and missed the playoffs. "That being said, we're better off than where we were a year ago at this time."