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By DENNIS BRUNSON
Lakewood High School hung with Sumter High for practically all of the first quarter of their football game on Friday at Memorial Stadium. Then it got out of hand fast.
Very, very fast.
The Gamecocks scored the game's first touchdown with just eight seconds left in the first quarter. The TDs came and quick fast after that as SHS scored six in the second quarter for a 40-0 halftime lead. Sumter went on to a 61-0 win in their first game of the season on Freddie Solomon Field.
The Gamecocks, ranked seventh in the state among 5A schools in the S.C. Prep Media Football Poll, improved to 3-0 on the season. The Gators, coming off of a 33-14 win over Manning, fell to 1-3.
The start of the game was delayed for 1 hour, 18 minutes, due to a lot of lightning and some rain in the area. Both teams had some ups and downs in the early going.
Sumter had a punt return for a touchdown by Tylee Craft called back due to a holding penalty. Penalties affected the Gamecocks in a big way in the first quarter as they had six for 63 yards.
However, the next time Craft got the ball he returned it 21 yards to the LHS 39-yard line. While a couple of penalties hindered SHS, a 17-yard completion from quarterback Hayden Vasquez to running back Tony Dinkins-McCall gave Sumter a first down at the 25. Running back Nathan Harris-Waynick then broke off a 14-yard run to set up his own 11-yard scoring run. Jehu McCray added the extra point to make it 7-0 with eight seconds left in the first quarter.
The Sumter defense heled the Gators to a three-downs-and-out series on the ensuing possession. Koby Wagner got off a 43-yard punt for LHS that had the Gamecocks starting at their 38. However, Lakewood was called for an illegal formation and had to punt again. This time, Dinkins-McCall came in from the right side to block it, setting SHS up at the Gator 3.
Harris-Waynick scored on the next play to make it 14-0 with 9:32 left in the first half. And the route was on.
A high snap and a short punt set Sumter up at the Lakewood 30 on its next possession. On third and six, Dinkins-McCall broke off a 26-yard touchdown run. The PAT was no good, leaving the score at 20-0 with 6:19 to go in the first half.
The Gamecocks then scored on their next three offensive plays. Vasquez hooked up with Craft, a North Carolina wide receiver commitment, for a 60-yard touchdown pass with 4:13 to go.
After South Carolina defensive back commitment O'Donnell Fortune made a beautiful interception at the 50 and returned it to the LHS 1 and a penalty on Sumter, Vasquez threw a 6-yard TD pass to Craft.
The final score of the first half was a 66-yard bomb from Vasquez to wide receiver Lodaine Redwood.
Lakewood picked up two first downs on its first possession of the game. The Gators didn't get anymore the rest of the half as they finished with 21 yards of total offense.
Lakewood didn't pick up another first down until midway through the fourth quarter.
Sumter had 241 yards of total offense in the first half, 161 of it coming through the air. The Gamecocks had 10 first downs.
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