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Sumter looks to stay unbeaten against crosstown rival

By Jackson Hoshour | Sumter Contributor

Sumter hosts Lakewood on Friday night for their annual matchup of crosstown foes at Sumter High Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised on WACH Fox. 

The Gamecocks have won the last nine contests against the Gators dating back to 2002. Sumter enters the season 2-0 after an unfortunate cancellation due to Hurricane Dorian last week.

Sumter is fresh off of a 63-2 shellacking of Crestwood, their other crosstown foe while Lakewood earned their first victory of the season last week, a 33-14 win over a tough Manning team. That Gators record now sits at 1-2 on the season.

“I feel like it’ll be a good matchup,” said Sumter outside linebacker Deshawn McKnight. “I know me and the guys are going to be ready for Lakewood on Friday night”. 

Bragging rights will definitely be in effect for these two crosstown rivals, but McKnight said it’s different for him. “For me, it’s not so much of having bragging rights, I feel like if we win it goes to show that we can compete against whoever they put in front of us.”

The Gamecocks defeated Lakewood last year 49-7, one of their eleven wins last season. Senior Linebacker Blayne Aycock had five tackles and one tackle for loss in that contest a year ago. 

“Our team lost a lot of starters on both sides of the ball from last year so we are going to need people to step up and perform in a big game at home in front of our crowd,” said Aycock about how this years game differs from last years. The gamecocks defense has allowed an average of 11.5 points per game, improving from last years 21.5 points per game through the first two games.

With Friday’s game being televised, it can be assumed that some players will be playing with some jitters to start the game but Aycock isn’t worried about the cameras. “The game being televised  doesn’t affect me, it’s still the same game to be played and we still have the same job.”

Senior running back Ernest Jackson is very confident in this Gamecock team heading into Friday night. “I know we are going to be ready for this game, on all aspects of the ball. They beat Manning last week but I don’t believe Manning is Sumter High, I’m very confident that we will go out there and show them we can win.” 

Sumter scored nine touchdowns against Crestwood, and will look to recapture that momentum after their bye week. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.

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