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Thomas Sumter learns from tough season opener

By TIM LEIBLE tim@theitem.com
Posted 8/29/19

The Thomas Sumter Academy Generals knew their football season opener was going to be a difficult hurdle to clear. They entered the game with a lot of new and inexperienced faces and lined up against a solid rushing attack from Williamsburg Academy. …

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Thomas Sumter learns from tough season opener

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The Thomas Sumter Academy Generals knew their football season opener was going to be a difficult hurdle to clear. They entered the game with a lot of new and inexperienced faces and lined up against a solid rushing attack from Williamsburg Academy. While the final score wasn't what TSA was hoping for, a 29-0 loss, it did see improvement as the game progressed.

Williamsburg opened the game with two touchdowns in the opening quarter, the first on a 1-yard run and the second on a 67-yard scamper. A 15-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter put Thomas Sumter behind 21-0, but it was able to find its footing the rest of the way.

Williamsburg scored just one touchdown after halftime, and TSA head coach Randy Stogner said the break at halftime was crucial. Because his team has so few players, he and his staff couldn't really make adjustments until they went into the locker room.

"We were able to correct a few mistakes on the sideline and halftime," Stogner said. "It's kind of difficult to do that before halftime, because that's about the only time some of them come off the field. We were able to get them over there and correct a few fundamental mistakes they were making that kind of helped us contain the edge better and fill up in the middle better. We did make some improvements as the game went on."

Stogner was proud of the fact that his players never gave up despite the rocky start.

"Nobody raised the white flag. Everyone came out and was still in at the end of the game ready to play. We had some kids that were cramping and things, but they were ready to go back into the game. I was proud to see that nobody folded the tent. They were all in and did the best they could."

TSA plays at home on Friday against Spartanburg Christian Academy. The Warriors are led by Palmer Thompson, a big quarterback that can run the ball. TSA will need to continue to shore up its, according to Stogner.

"They're a pretty good-sized team; not big in numbers, but I mean the quarterback looks like he's 6 foot (tall) or better, strong and probably their best runner," said Stogner. "They're going to mix up their offense, and to me they just look like they line up in the 5-2 (defensively) and just react to what you do to them.

The Warriors didn't play in Week Zero, so Stogner hopes that getting a game in before Spartanburg Christian give his young team a bit of an edge.

Thomas Sumter did have some standout performances against Williamsburg, most notably Aayden Allen offensively and Hayden Poston defensively. Allen carried the ball 25 times for 86 yards, while Poston had 11 tackles."I do think playing last week was going to help us this week, just for getting out on the field correctly if nothing else," said Stogner. "(Allen) is definitely going to be a horse of the future. He's just a sophomore, and he's already carrying the rock for us and getting better yardage than anyone on the team. He's just got to keep improving and keep on going. This young man might be the only thing that holds himself back. He's getting stronger and faster. When he realizes what he can be, he's gonna be a stud. He's just young."

TSA's only goal on Friday is a victory.

"We've got one goal and that's to win," he said. "Anything else, we'll take it, but that primary goal is to get win No. 1."