Sumter High School found itself involved in another lopsided football game on Friday on Memorial Stadium's Freddie Solomon Field. Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, they were on the receiving end of the whipping for the first - and last - time this …
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Sumter High School found itself involved in another lopsided football game on Friday on Memorial Stadium's Freddie Solomon Field. Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, they were on the receiving end of the whipping for the first - and last - time this season.
Gaffney dominated the first half, leading SHS 27-0 at the break, and never let up as it rolled to a 33-7 victory in the second round of the 5A state playoffs.
"We just got beat by a better team tonight," said Sumter head coach Mark Barnes. "There's not much more you can say about the game tonight. Sometimes you have to just shake their hands and tell them they're the better team, and that's what they were tonight."
Sumter had a second straight season where it won its first 10 games only to lose in the second round of the playoffs. Gaffney, the No. 3 seed from Region II, improved to 9-3. The Indians will play its Region II foe Byrnes in the Upper State semifinals next week.
Gaffney received the opening kickoff and put together a 7-play, 65-yard scoring drive. It ended with quarterback Undre Linsdsey scrambling in from nine yards out to make it 7-0 with 9:40 still left in the first quarter.
The Gamecocks had a 27-yard completion from quarterback Hayden Vasquez to wide receiver Marcus Lane on their first possession of the game. SHS finished with 35 yards of total offense in the first half.
"I was shocked." Barnes said about GHS' dominance. "They were better than we were in every aspect of the game. They outran us, they outpassed us, they outcoached us, they were more physical than we were, especially on the perimeter. They just outplayed us."
Gaffney had 262 yards of total offense in the first half to SHS' aforementioned 35. Lindsey completed 11 of 18 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more.
Through three quarters, Sumter had just three first downs and 54 total yards. The Gamecocks finished with 189 yards of offense. Running back Nathan Harris-Waynick ran the ball 10 times for 99 yards, including a 3-yard scoring run with 2:41 left in the game for Sumter's lone score. He finished with 119 yards on 22 carries.
Barnes said Gaffney's defensive front was able to take away the running game.
"We knew if they were able to take the run away from us without putting extra people in the box it would make it difficult for us," said Barnes, who has yet to take SHS past the second round of the playoffs in his five years at the school. "We've lived off of using the RPO (read-pass option) by being able to run the ball all year long, and they took that away from us tonight."
The Indians pushed the lead to 14-0 when they let the SHS front through, and Lindsey threw a screen pass to running back Tyler Smith. He went 44 yards for the score with 2:18 left in the first quarter.
Gaffney followed that with a 12-play, 77-yard scoring drive capped off by a 5-yard TD run by Lindsey with 8:56 left in the first half.
Sumter looked as though it might have some life after Lindsey left the game with an injury. However, backup quarterback Stan Ellis got off a pass to Ty'rion Ingram, who released off the line after Sumter went after Ellis for a 36-yard TD pass to make it 27-0 3:33 left in the first half.
Barnes wasn't going to let one game take away from the season his team had.
"I'm proud of the way my team played this season," Barnes said. "We accomplished a lot of things. We just didn't play our best game tonight, and Gaffney had a lot to do with that. I'm still proud of the way my team played all season."
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