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Sumter overcomes slow start to beat Woodmont 45-7

By DENNIS BRUNSON dennis@theiitem.com
Posted 11/8/19
Through one play of the second quarter, Woodmont High School had run 19 plays to just four for Sumter in their first-round game in the 5A football state playoffs on Friday. The Wildcats rode that disparity to an early 7-0 lead. It didn't take the …

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Sumter overcomes slow start to beat Woodmont 45-7

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Through one play of the second quarter, Woodmont High School had run 19 plays to just four for Sumter in their first-round game in the 5A football state playoffs on Friday.

The Wildcats rode that disparity to an early 7-0 lead. It didn't take the Gamecocks long to turn that margin around though with three long touchdown passes from quarterback Hayden Vasquez for a 21-7 halftime lead on the way to a 45-7 victory on Memorial Stadium's Freddie Solomon Field.

"I'm really proud of the way our team played tonight," said SHS head coach Mark Barnes, whose team improved to 10-0 on the season. "I think this might be the most complete game we've played on both sides of the ball this season."

Sumter will play host to Gaffney next Friday in the second round. The Indians went on the road on Friday to beat Rock Hill, which the Gamecocks beat in their season opener, 27-6.

WHS, which finished 6-5 with the loss, actually opened the game in a new offense. Woodmont had been running the Wing-T most of the season, but it came out in the veer, an option-style offense.

"Our regular quarterback was hurt, so we switched it up," said Wildcats head coach Jet Turner, a Mayesville native and the former head coach at Wilson Hall. "My guys played hard, but we had some turnovers and we couldn't catch a break. Sumter's a very good team."

"They came out with the option, and we really hadn't prepared much for that," Barnes said. "Our guys did a good job of adjusting to that. I told the defense how proud I was of them and the way they played. It is not fun to play against that offense."

WHS put together a 13-play, 66-yard drive that took 7 minutes, 19 seconds, off the clock, scoring on the first play of the second quarter.

SHS had the lead for good in less than seven minutes of clock time. It tied the game in two plays and 41 seconds with Vasquez hitting Jordan McGee coming out of the backfield. McGee put a move on a defender and went 56 yards for the touchdown. Dyson Roberts' extra point made it 7-7 with 11:11 remaining in the second quarter.

Woodmont picked up a first down before having to punt, with Sumter taking over at its 34. It ran five plays before Vasquez hit on another 56-yard scoring play, this one on a slant to Marcus Lane to make it 14-7 with 5:11 left in the first half.

The Wildcats lost the first of four fumbles on the next possession with Sumter taking over at the WHS 36-yard line. Vasquez connected with Tylee Craft for the touchdown this time, a 25-yarder with 2:20 left that made the halftime score 21-7.

Vasquez was 7-for-8 in the second quarter for 175 yards and the three touchdowns. Lane finished with four catches for 69 yards, Craft with four catches for 53 yards and McGee with two catches for 62 yards.

"We were trying to spread the ball around," Barnes said. "We feel like all of our guys can catch it. I thought Hayden threw the ball really well tonight."

The Gamecocks received the second-half kickoff and started at its 48 after recovering an onside kick. They needed just five plays to get in the end zone with running back Nathan Harris-Waynick scoring on a 21-yard run to make it 28-7 with 10:03 left in the third quarter.

SHS recovered a Woodmont fumble and was able to turn it into a 23-yard field goal by Roberts to make it 31-7 with 5:48 remaining in the third.

Waynick-Harris scored on a 2-yard run early in the fourth quarter to make it 38-7 with 10:05 left in the game.

After having just four carries for 11 yards in the first half, Waynick-Harris finished with 11 carries for 101 yards.

"We changed it up and ran the ball well in the second half," Barnes said. "We were very physical on both sides of the ball, which I was happy to see."

Woodmont ended up running 67 offensive plays to just 35 for Sumter. However. Sumter ended up with 314 yards, 186 through the air and 128 on the ground.

The Wildcats ended up with 222 total yards, 181 coming on the ground.