Sumrall moves to 5-0 with win over RichtonBy CAMAL PETRO,
SUMRALL – It’s been three decades since the Sumrall Bobcats have had this kind of start to a season. For the first time since 1988, the Bobcats are 5-0, with the latest win coming Friday night – a 33-20 decision over the Richton Rebels.
The Bobcats were in the 2A classification then, and now they’re a 4A team, but the feeling remains the same.
“You can’t be better than 5-0 if you’ve played five games, so we’re happy about that” Sumrall coach Shannon White said with a smirk. “We’re good. I’m proud of our guys and our coaches.”
Behind 100-yard rushing performances from seniors Dannis Jackson and Ty’rek Preston, the Bobcats rushed for 328 yards on 39 carries as a team. Jackson led the offense with 129 of those yards and a flashy touchdown down the sideline, while Preston punched it in twice, adding 127 yards on 16 attempts.
After the game, White said he should have given the ball to Preston more than the 16 times. The strategy going into the night was to get on the outside and throw more, but White and the Sumrall coaches opted to pound the ball up the middle more in the second half. In return, Preston gashed the Rebels’ defense on Sumrall’s final drive of the night to burn out the clock.
He collected three straight 11-yard gains to set up Sumrall’s final touchdown – a 4-yard score by junior Carson Duck – to give the Bobcats a commanding 33-14 lead.
Gabe Cocroft added 49 rushing yards on five carries, primarily taking the ball to the outside on sweep plays.
“Those guys make us good play callers,” White said. “They make things happen when they’re not there. I think we blocked pretty well. Our offensive line is doing a good job for us.”
Sumrall went into the break with a 27-14 lead, but it came back out and shot itself in the foot with 13 penalties for 115 yards in the final two quarters. It was called for five holding calls in the second half that stalled most of its drives, but the defense stepped up when it needed to make a stop.
The Bobcats forced a Richton punt on its first possession in the third quarter, then junior Justice Hanberry recovered a fumble on Richton’s second play when it got the ball back. Junior Adarrius Fairman picked off Richton’s Dylan Farve on the next drive, too, but neither turnover resulted in points for Sumrall.
If anything, though, it allowed the Bobcats to waste more clock.
“That was big,” Jackson said of the Bobcats’ defensive play in the second half. “We came out in the second half, we struggled a little bit with penalties. The defense, they helped us out a lot by getting those stops when we didn’t score.”
Jackson and his fellow offensive players have been practicing with this defense all offseason, and during the summer when they weren’t wearing pads, he knew the unit could be a good one, but he wanted to see them with pads on first.
Sumrall didn’t allow an offense to score a single point until Week 3. Even after Richton scored 20 points Friday night, the Bobcats’ defense is allowing less than seven points per game.
The Bobcats held Richton to just 239 yards of total offense, though, and they get to celebrate another win.
“It sounds great,” Jackson said of the 5-0 record. “I told these guys, we’re 5-0 but we have to go back to work Monday to get where we want to be. It feels better going back to practice with a win under your belt and no losses. At the same time, you have to go back and do what you do if you lost.”
Jackson, a four-star recruit who’s committed to play for Ole Miss next year, was gearing up for another season at wide receiver when he was moved into the starting quarterback role as a necessity. Last season’s starter Billy Garrity was ruled out for the season, so Jackson stepped into the position.
Not seeing the field at his future position doesn’t bother Jackson, though. He just wants to lead his team and collect wins in the process.
“I just knew I was the guy and I had to step up,” he said.
Sumrall puts its undefeated record on the line at Pass High next week. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Score by Quarter
Richton 7 7 0 6—20
Sumrall 19 8 0 6—33
Sumrall — Daniels 5 pass from Jackson (kick good), 9:29.
Sumrall — Preston 5 run (kick no good), 6:38.
Richton — Mills 24 pass from Farve (kick good), 5:00.
Sumrall — Jackson 13 run (kick no good), 2:55.
Richton — Farve 3 run (kick good), 7:40
Sumrall — Preston 1 run (2-point successful), 4:02.
Sumrall — Duck 4 run (kick no good), 5:38.
Richton — Shattles 8 pass from Farve (kick no good), 1:45.
Richton -- Sumrall
First Downs: 20 -- 23
Rushes-Yards: 33-128 -- 39-328
Att-Comp-Int: 17-9-1 -- 15-8-0
Passing Yards: 111 -- 48
Total Plays-Yards: 50-239 -- 54-376
Punts-Avg: 2-21 -- 1-28
Fumbles-Lost: 3-2 -- 1-1
Penalties: 5-30 -- 17-155
Richton: Griffin 14-75; Farve 13-33 TD; Mitchell 3-11; Bolton 1-8; Hinton 2-1.
Sumrall: Jackson 13-129 TD; Preston 16-127 2 TDs; Cocroft 5-49; Barrett 4-19; Duck 1-4 TD.
Richton: Farve 9-for-16 111 yds. 2 TDs; Mitchell 0-for-1 INT.
Sumrall: Jackson 8-for-15, 49 yds. TD.
Richton: Mills 4-76 TD; Mitchell 3-15; Hinton 1-12; Graham 1-8 TD.
Sumrall: Cronin 2-22; Daniels 4-11 TD; Cocroft 1-11; Davis 1-4.