Blythewood falls to Sumter

BLYTHEWOOD – Blythewood may not have put a scare in the Sumter football team Friday night, but the Bengals made the Gamecocks work.

Sumter built a 14-0 lead and went up 21-7 by the half en route to a  28-7 victory at Richland District Two Stadium, but Blythewood pestered the Gamecocks all night and limited their opportunities to blow the game open.

“We were gonna be aggressive, our kids love that,” Blythewood head coach Jason Seidel said. “Our defense played really well. They did a great job. All the credit to their team (Sumter), but I think we’re gonna watch the film and come away watching film saying ‘we can play with that team, we can beat that team, we just can’t mess our own selves up.”

While both offenses were not necessarily ringing in score after score and hundreds of yards, Blythewood’s 137 rushing yards trounced Sumter’s 89, and the Bengals even outpassed the Gamecocks 165 yards to 110.

“I thought we had opportunities, but we had two dropped balls in the end zone, and against a great team like that …” Seidel said, noting how they’ll look at their misses in practice this week. “Our kids are gonna watch film and go ‘omigod, we were right there.’ I thought our intensity was great, it was a clean game, it was awesome. We’ve just got to finish drives.”

Notably missing in the second half was starting quarterback Josh Strickland, whom Seidel said tweaked a knee late in the first half and stayed out of second-half action as a precaution.

“His knee is good, it’s just a sprained knee. He got rolled up on, and you just gotta be smart,” Seidel said about keeping him out of the action.

Strickland was 15-of-26 for 131 yards and an interception.

King Ford came on in relief of Strickland and was 6-for-17 for 34 yards and an interception.

“I thought King did a great job and made some great throws,” Seidel said. “I can’t say Strickland going out killed us, I thought our backup QB did a great job.”

Sumter (7-0, 2-0), ranked fifth among 5A teams in the most recent state prep football poll, never struggled against Blythewood (5-3, 1-1), but the Gamecocks got into a lull, Sumter head coach Mark Barnes said.

“We’ve got an opportunity to be a great football team,” he said. “That’s why I was so disappointed. I mean, we won 28-7, but we didn’t do a good job in the second half offensively. “We didn’t block ’em, we just didn’t do a good job and I’ve got to do a better job as a head coach.”

The game quickly went the Gamecocks’ way in the first quarter.

Sumter stopped Blythewood’s game-opening drive and responded with an 11-play 63-yard drive capped with an 11-yard Vasquez touchdown run at the 4:16 mark of the first quarter.

The Gamecocks got the ball right back when Jabari Tiller picked off a fading pass from Strickland at midfield and returned it 43 yards to the Blythewood 6-yard line. Nathan Harris ran in for a score at the 2:53 mark of the first to put Sumter up 14-0.

Blythewood responded with a 10-play, 77-yard drive for its only score of the half, which came on Strickland’s 23-yard touchdown pass to David Patten on fourth-and-12 with 2 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Bengals looked to even the score, forcing Sumter to punt twice in the second quarter. On each possession, Blythewood turned the ball over on downs deep into Sumter territory.

When the Bengals gave the ball up at the Blythewood 40-yard line late in the second quarter, Sumter’s Anthony Dinkins-McCall took off on a 35-yard run that set up a second Harris TD run from two yards out four plays later for the Gamecocks’ 21-7 lead at the half.

Both teams battled through a scoreless third quarter. Sumter’s Zyeir Gamble picked off a Ford pass early in the period, and a lost Blythewood fumble late in the quarter led to Harris’ third score of the day, a 1-yard TD run with 11:28 left in the game.

Blythewood caught a late break when Chase Ishmael recovered a botched punt that set the Bengals up at the Sumter 19-yard line with nine minutes to play. That possession led to a first-and-goal situation, but Sumter managed a goal-line stand by the 5:36 mark.

From that point the both teams battled through possessions until the Gamecocks recovered a Blythewood fumble with a minute left and ran out the clock.

“We didn’t play very good tonight. I thought our defense played pretty good tonight,” said Sumter head coach Mark Barnes. “Our defense kept them out of the end zone, but we gave up some third down and fourth down plays. But you gotta give them credit for that. I think their quarterback did a great job, but I think both teams lost some steam in the second half when their quarterback went didn’t play.” 

Sumter is at Spring Valley and Blythewood is at Lugoff-Elgin Friday.

SHS  – 14-7-0-7 – 28

BHS – 7-0-0-0 – 7

First Quarter

S – Hayden Vasquez 11 run (Dyson Roberts kick) 4:16

S – Nathan Harris 1 run (Roberts kick) 2:53

B – David Patten 23 pass from Josh Strickland (Jerry Finney kick) :02

Second Quarter

S – Harris 2 run (Roberts kick) 1:17

Fourth Quarter

S – Harris 2 run (Roberts kick) 11:28

                                  SHS             BHS

First Downs            10                 20

Rushes-Yards          30-89         40-137

Passing Yards          110             165

Att-Com-Int            24-14-0     43-21-2

Fumbles-Lost         1-1               4-2

Penalties-Yards      10-55          4-46

Punts-Avg.               5-35.6        2-30.0 

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Sumter-Anthony Dinkins-McCall 12-73, Hayden Vasquez 7-21, Nathan Harris, N. 8-16, TEAM 3-minus 21. Blythewood-Aamir Washington 6-43, Dhani Dixon 5-34, King Ford 15-25, Brandon Edwards 9-18, Josh Strickland 2-15, Desmond Boatwright 3-2.

PASSING: Sumter-Hayden Vasquez 15-24-0-110. Blythewood- Josh Strickland

15-26-1-131, King Ford 6-17-1-34.

RECEIVING: Sumter-Marcus Lane 6-66; Tylee Craft 4-21, Lodaine Redwood 2-13, Jordan McGee 2-9, Anthony Dinkins-McCall 1-1. Blythewood-David Patten 7-47, Noble Cooper 4-40, Josh Burrell 4-38, Aamir Washington 3-29, Brandon Edwards 3-11.