Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

December 3, 2013

District champion SCPRD All-Star team set to host state tourney

AMERICUS — The Sumter County Parks and Recreation 11-12 All-Star football team won their district on Monday, Nov. 25, but their season did not end with the dominant run in the district tournament. Instead, the Sumter County squad will now attempt to claim the state title within their own city limits this weekend when they host the GRPA State Tournament against seven of the top Class B football programs in the state.

Sumter County’s run to the District 3 Title began on Monday, Nov. 18 when the 11-12 year-old team traveled to Tifton for their first game of the tournament. In their first round match-up, the Sumter County squad locked horns with the Bainbridge All-Star team. Thanks to a smothering defensive performance, Sumter County was able to walk away from their Bainbridge opponent with a one-sided 28-7 victory in the opener.

“All of the teams that you play in these tournaments are All-Star teams,” said Sumter County Athletic Director Dwight Harris. “I thought that we played extremely well in that first game, especially on defense. We had a few fumble recoveries returned and an interception, and the best offense is a good defense.”

Sumter County’s win over Bainbridge propelled them to the District 3 Championship game, where they faced Crisp County for all the marbles. Once again, Sumter County’s defense stepped up and held their opponent in the single digits. With a strong defensive performance for the second game in a row, coupled with some timely scoring on offense, Sumter County handed Crisp a 16-6 loss to claim the District 3 Title, and a top seed in the state tournament.

“When you get to the final two teams in a tournament, the score should be close,” Harris said. “The guys played extremely well again, and I thought that our practice of kicking extra points really paid off. At this age, if you kick an extra point it counts for two points, so it was big that we made both of ours in that game,” he added.

While the Sumter County 11-12 All-Stars are very proud of their district title,  they now have their sights firmly on the state championship trophy. Sumter County will have the home field advantage in the state tournament, which begins Saturday at Americus-Sumter High School’s Finklea-Robinson Field at Alton C. Shell Stadium on the South Campus.

Sumter County’s first game will begin on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. against Thompson-McDuffie. Harris encourages the community to come out and support the local all-star team as they compete for a state title within their own city boundaries.

“We are hoping to have a decent turnout and get the community behind them because they are doing something positive and they are not out there on the streets. They are student-athletes that are out there getting the job done on the field and they need your support,” he said. “This is the perfect opportunity for these kids because they are competing for a state title, which some athletes never get to do. They are in the state tournament, and we want to make it memorable for them.”

Harris also said that none of this would have been possible without the direction and dedication of his volunteer coaches.

“I want to thank head coach Carlton Franklin and assistant coaches John “Fox” Leverette, Brandon Goodin, and George McKenzie for doing such a great job with the kids. They volunteer their time and they are away from their own families a lot. For us to be where we are now is just proof that they have done and excellent job,” said Harris.

Sumter-County and Thompson-McDuffie are joined in the tournament by Calhoun, Crisp County, Cartersville, Union City, Walton County, and the City of Atlanta. Don’t miss the exciting first match-up on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. as the Sumter County All-Stars start their state tournament journey with a championship in mind.

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