Panthers impress in scrimmage with Darlington

Published 4:05 pm Saturday, August 12, 2023

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AMERICUS – The Sumter County High School football team (SCHS) took to the field Friday night at Alton Shell Stadium with the purpose of tuning up and working out the kinks, as they scrimmaged Darlington High School (DHS) from Rome, GA. Though the game didn’t count in the standings, the Panthers were impressive on both sides of the ball, as they defeated the Tigers by the score of 34-12.

“I think the kids played hard and was very resilient tonight,” SCHS Head Coach Will Rogers said. “We have to eliminate the penalties and keep working on paying attention to details.”

Neither offense could do anything on their first possessions, but on the Panthers’ second possession of the first quarter, quarterback Anthony Tyson was able to move SCHS down inside the DHS 20-yard line. Then on second down and five from the Tigers’ 15, running back Braylon Terry broke through tackles and scored a rushing touchdown from 15 yards out. The extra point from Allen Gonzalez was good and SCHS had a 7-0 lead with 7:28 to go in the first quarter.

Later on in the second quarter, the Tigers were able to mount a drive down near the SCHS five-yard line, but the Panther defense held DHS to just a field goal with 9:11 before halftime.

Throughout the first half, the Panthers were making plays on both sides of the ball, but penalties hurt them, particularly on offense, as they nullified big plays, particularly in the running game.

With a little over five minutes left before halftime, DHS was ale to move the ball inside the SCHS 15-yard line. The Tigers would later move the ball down to the SCHS two-yard line. Shortly thereafter, the Tigers would score a touchdown, but it was called back due to a holding penalty against DHS. This rejuvenated the Panther defense, as they were later able to force DHS into a third and 14 situation.

Then on third and 14, the SCHS defense came up with a sack of the DHS quarterback, thus forcing the Tigers into attempting a field goal. DHS was at the two yard line at one point, but thanks to a holding penalty and solid defense played by the Panthers, the Tigers had to settle for a 34-yard field goal, making the score 7-6 in favor of SCHS.

The Panthers now had two minutes to put some more points on the board, but they didn’t waste any time, as running back Corderian Leverett broke through the DHS defense and scampered 72 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good and SCHS had a 14-6 lead at halftime.

Neither team could get anything going on their first offensive possessions of the second half, but on the Panthers’ second possession of the third quarter, they were able to move the ball down inside the DHS 15-yard line. Then on first and 10 from the DHS 12, quarterback Ishmael Jones scored a touchdown on a quarterback keeper. The extra point was good and the Panthers had a 21-6 lead.

Sumter County senior offensive lineman Justin Jones blocks for the Panthers’ offense.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Then with a little over a minute left in the third quarter, the Panthers struck again when quarterback Jayshaun Bobbs threw a long pass to Caleb Josey-Durham, who took the ball to the house for another SCHS touchdown. The extra point was good and the Panthers enjoyed a 28-6 lead.

No sooner had the offense made a big play, the defense also came up with one thereafter, as they forced a fumble and recovered the ball for the Panthers’ offense.

This gave the SCHS offense another opportunity to put points on the board and they did just that. Bobbs ran the ball for a quarterback keeper into the end zone for another SCHS touchdown. The extra point was no good, but the Panthers were dominating, leading 34-6.

Shortly thereafter, the Panther defense forced another turnover and the offense had the ball at the DHS 27-yard line. However, the drive bogged down and the Panthers were forced to turn the ball over on downs near the DHS seven-yard line.

The Tigers were able to score a touchdown late in the game, but by then, the outcome had been decided, as the Panthers would win the scrimmage by the score of 34-12.

The Panthers will strap it on for real next Friday night, August 18, when they travel up to Perry to begin the 2023 season against the Houston County Bears. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.