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Mark Barnes felt like his undefeated Sumter High School football team accomplished quite a bit during its bye week. Now the Gamecock head coach just hopes the week off doesn't affect his team when it gets back on the field on Friday in a road game against Blythewood beginning at 7:30 p.m.
"I just hope we come out and are ready to play," said Barnes, whose team enters the game with a 6-0 record and ranked fifth in the state among 5A schools in the latest S.C. Prep Media Football Poll. "I don't want us to have to wait a quarter before we get things going. That could make it into a tight game. I hope we'll come out like we have the last few games."
SHS has been dominant since its first game, a 28-21 victory over Rock Hill. It has outscored its foes 320-50 on the season, averaging 53.3 points a game while allowing 8.3 points.
Sumter will be taking on a Blythewood team that has been in a lot of close games. The Bengals, who are 5-2, have outscored their opponents 194-164. Their losses were 14-7 to Westwood and 49-13 to defending 5A state champion Dutch Fork.
Both teams are 1-0 in Region IV play. The Gamecocks' most recent game was a 58-6 victory over Lugoff-Elgin. BHS is coming off of a 42-35 victory over Irmo.
This is an important game because this is a team that is supposed to give us probably our biggest challenge in the region," Barnes said.
Barnes was at Blythewood's contest against Irmo and was impressed with what he saw on both sides of the ball.
"They've got very good skill players on both sides of the football," Barnes said. "Their quarterback is very good; he throws the football better than anyone we've faced this year. We don't want to get into a shootout with them."
Senior Josh Strickland is the quarterback for Blythewood. He has completed 108 of 153 passes for 1,357 yards and 18 touchdowns against just one interception.
The Bengals have five different receivers with 11 or more coaches. Josh Burrell is the leading receiver with 32 catches for 515 yards and nine touchdowns. David Patten is next with 24 catches for 342 yards.
Blythewood has four players with between 167 yards and 318 yards rushing.
Sumter has been able to run the ball and throw the ball with ease. Quarterback Hayden Vasquez had completed 70 of 103 passes for 1,183 yards and 13 touchdowns against six interceptions. Marcus Lane is the leading receiver with 27 catches for 420 yards and three touchdowns, while Tylee Craft has 18 catches for 363 yards and four TDs.
Tony Dinkins-McCall has rushed for 563 yards and eight touchdowns on just 49 carries. Nathan Harris-Waynick has rushed for 411 yards and 13 touchdowns on 58 carries.
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