Gamecocks facing region foe Spring Valley in 5A playoff opener

BY DENNIS BRUNSON
dennis@theitem.com
Posted 11/9/18

Sumter High School will be facing a familiar foe in the first round of the 5A football state playoffs on Friday at Sumter Memorial Stadium beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Region IV foe Spring Valley.

The undefeated Gamecocks defeated Spring Valley 37-0 …

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Gamecocks facing region foe Spring Valley in 5A playoff opener

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Sumter High School will be facing a familiar foe in the first round of the 5A football state playoffs on Friday at Sumter Memorial Stadium beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Region IV foe Spring Valley.

The undefeated Gamecocks defeated Spring Valley 37-0 on Oct. 19 on Freddie Solomon Field. None of that matters to SHS head coach Mark Barnes.

"We've been telling our players that everyone (in the playoffs) is 0-0 (record-wise)," said Barnes, whose squad went 9-0 in the regular season. "Also, we don't get to start up 37-0; we start 0-0. We're coming in knowing our season can end.

"We've spent a lot of time looking at film from that game, looking at the things we did well and didn't do well, and the things they did well and didn't do well."

The Vikings, who are 7-3 on the season and earned an at-large berth in the upper state playoffs, didn't do very well in any category in the first meeting. They only had 104 yards of total offense and allowed 327 yards, including 288 on the ground.

While Spring Valley will still be operating out of its triple-option offense, it will do so this time with a different quarterback in TJ Wise.

Wise took over at quarterback after Alex Herrera, who started against Sumter, was injured. Wise held on to the job after Herrera became healthy.

"He makes them a lot more athletic at quarterback," Barnes said of Wise, who lined up as a split end in the first meeting. "They've also brough brought a couple of players from defense to play wingback, that makes them more athletic. We have to hope that having players that play both sides wears them out a little bit quicker."

Wise has rushed for 490 yards and two touchdowns on 83 carries and ran for 84 yards on 11 carries in a win over Chapin to close out the regular season.

Adrian Ross leads the Vikings in rushing with 745 yards and four TDs on 118 carries. Anthony Wilson has 249 yards and seven scores on 28 carries, and Isaiah Miller has 287 yards and seven scores on 57 attempts.

Running backs Jonathan Henry and Justice Wells both ran the ball well against Spring Valley. Henry rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, while Wells had 89 yards and one score on seven rushes.

Henry has rushed for 1,122 yards and 17 TDs on 179 carries, while Wells had 380 yards and six scores on 46 attempts. Quarterback Ontra' Harvin has completed 71 of 105 passes for 1,025 yards and 17 scores. His favorite target is speedy wide receiver Tony Dinkins-McCall, who has 43 catches for 610 yards and eight scores.

A major concern for Barnes is the fact that Spring Valley has seen firsthand what Sumter likes to do.

"It's an unfortunate situation that we're playing them again," Barnes said. "Usually in the region you play a team one time, so you show them your best in that game. They've seen our best and we've seen their best, so we're going to have to come up with some different things."

Barnes also pointed out that Spring Valley is a very good team.

"There are only three undefeated teams in 5A, and two of them are Dutch Fork and Sumter," he said. "Spring Valley lost to Irmo, Dutch Fork and Sumter, so they're a good team."