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Vasquez’s one quarter earns him Offensive Player of Week

By DENNIS BRUNSON
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 12/31/69

Hayden Vasquez had a nice game for Sumter High School in its 70-21 football victory over Bluffton last week.The junior quarterback connected on 13 of 14 pass attempts for 214 yards and three …

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Vasquez’s one quarter earns him Offensive Player of Week

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Hayden Vasquez had a nice game for Sumter High School in its 70-21 football victory over Bluffton last week.

The junior quarterback connected on 13 of 14 pass attempts for 214 yards and three touchdowns.

Wait, what’s that? Vasquez didn’t even play the whole game? That makes it even more impressive.

What? There’s more? He didn’t get more than one half under his belt? Wow!

Huh? Really? No way? Vasquez did all of that in one quarter of play. Because of that, Vasquez has been selected as The Sumter Item Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.

“We just went in knowing what we had to do,” Vasquez said about Sumter’s 42-point first quarter. I knew the reads I had to make. I just came into the game knowing what I had to do.”

The other players of the week along with Vasquez are his teammate, center James Sanders-Davis, as the Offensive Lineman, Carolina Academy’s Matthew Joye as the Special Teams Player and C.E. Murray defensive end Kobe Montgomery as the Defensive Player.

Players are selected based on nominations from local high school coaches. Selections are made by The Sumter Item.

The quartet will be honored at the weekly breakfast meeting of the Sumter Touchdown Club presented by FTC on Friday beginning at 7:15 a.m. The meeting takes place at the University of South Carolina Sumter's Arts & Letters Building.

Former Sumter High School and Clemson standout running back Roderick McDowell, now a graduate assistant at Clemson, will be the guest speaker.

OFFENSE – HAYDEN VASQUEZ SUMTER

If Vasquez would have played all four quarters with similar numbers, he would have gone 52 for 56 for 856 yards and 12 TDs. If he had played just one more quarter with the same statistics, he would have finished 26 for 28 for 428 yards and score scores.

So was Vasquez pleading his case to stay in the game a little bit longer?

“I was trying to get more playing time,” he admitted while laughing. “I was not really that worried about it though.”

Sumter head coach Mark Barnes said it was easily Vasquez’s best performance of the season from a mental aspect for the 5-0 Gamecocks.

“In a staff meeting we talked about some of the things we needed him to do better,” Barnes said. “He hadn’t had as clean of a game as we would have liked. He was getting the ball in the right place (against Bluffton). He was making it look easy when it’s something that’s not easy to do. He easily had his best mental game of the year.”

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN JAMES SANDERS-DAVIS SUMTER

Sanders-Davis was one of the men along the front who was making things easy for Vasquez and his other skill position teammates.

The senior first-year starter graded out at 80 percent and had one knockdown block as Sumter had 556 yards of total offense, including 207 on the ground. He was also 10-for-10 on snaps on extra points.

“We were really just doing what we were supposed to do,” Sanders-Davis said. “The coaches have us doing what we’ve been taught to do. I’ve come a long way from the first game of the season. I had a couple of bad snaps, and it was a loud crowd, and I was nervous.”

Barnes said Sanders-Davis easily played his best game of the season.

“He’s done a good job, and he was out there for a lot of snaps because we’re down to like seven offensive linemen,” Barnes said. “Being a center now isn’t like it used to be. You’re snapping from the (shot)gun just about all the time, so you’re bent over snapping the ball several yards back and trying to block with one hand to begin with. It’s not easy.”

SPECIAL TEAMS – MATTHEW JOYE CAROLINA

Joye returned a punt 64 yards for a touchdown in the Bobcats’ 47-14 victory over Thomas Sumter Academy last week.

Joye said there wasn’t anything fancy about his return.

“I just had good blocking, I saw a seam open up as soon as I caught it, and I took it all the way back,” Joye said. “As soon as it got it in my hands and made one cut, I knew I was going to score.”

Joye also rushed for 68 yards and two touchdowns on five carries and passed for 22 yards.

DEFENSE KOBE MONTGOMERY C.E. MURRAY

Montgomery was being a disruptive force for the Eagles in their 39-0 victory over Hemingway. He had nine solo tackles with six of them going for a loss. He also had a quarterback sack and two hurries.

“I was just trying to add to my stats,” Montgomery said with a laugh. “There were plays coming my way, but I was doing a good job of getting to the ball.”

Montgomery has been doing that all season. He has 22 TFLs in five games to go with 42 total tackles.

“Kobe is very hard to block,” said CEM head coach Brian Smith. “I think he’s the best defensive lineman in the state. He leads in tackles for loss. He’s just a one-man wrecking crew.”