Sumrall earns first region winBy BUSTER WOLFE,
Sumrall junior quarterback Billy Garrity didn’t have to run far Friday night, but he made the most of the yardage he did accumulate.
The Bobcat signal-caller carried the ball 12 times for 29 yards, averaging 2.4 yards per tote. In those 12 carries, Garrity scored four touchdowns – three for 1 yard each and a 12-yard sprint – to lead the Bobcats to a 34-20 victory over Lawrence County for a Sumrall Homecoming win.
The Region 7-4A contest for both teams left Sumrall with its first Region victory, evening the record at 1-1 in the standings and 5-3 overall. The Cougars dropped to 3-5, 0-2.
Garrity said quarterback sneak was the play of the night for him.
“I told Coach (Shannon) White, ‘Let’s keep running the same play. If they aren’t going to stop it, we are going to keep running it,’” he said. “I’ve got a big running back (Derrick Lemieux) who just pushed me over. He turned it on there in the second half.”
When ball control became critical for the Bobcats late in the game, Lemieux carried three times for 33 yards with less than two minutes to play. He collected 49 total yards on 11 carries in the game.
Sumrall’s White said Garrity’s consecutive interceptions in the first quarter didn’t affect the outcome of the game.
“We bounced back; our guys have got ice in their veins,” he said. “Billy does and nothing fazes him. It doesn’t affect play calling. He has shown a lot of improvement. He did a great job for us tonight, along with our offensive line.”
White said the offense didn’t have the same spark in the second half as earlier in the game.
“Our offense played well in the first half, but we were a little flat in the second half,” he said. “But I’m proud of them, I’m really proud of them. Thirty-four points against them is pretty good.”
The only other Sumrall runner on the night was sophomore Gabriel Cocroft, who rushed six times for 35 yards. He was stymied last week at Purvis, but gained more confidence early in the contest Friday.
“He’s a talented kid,” White said. “He’s just a sophomore, so he’s learning and getting better. He’s got good cutting ability and he’s got great vision of the field. In the second half, they strung him out when he tried to run outside.”
Like the Bobcats’ performance in the 35-28 loss at Purvis last week, the defense played an important role, this time in the victory.
“Our defense has really been stepping up for us,” White said. “We have played better second halves. We played good enough to win; that’s the most important thing. Our defense did a super job getting turnovers, in the red zone and inside the 5. We got a lot of pretty good hits. We haven’t hit like that in a long time, so we’ve got a pretty good bunch of kids.”
Big plays and big hits on defense became critical in many situations Friday. A one-handed interception by Sumrall’s Dannis Jackson led to a 55-yard TD reception by Jackson that became a catch-and-dodge by the receiving standout. Jackson pulled together five receptions for 114 yards.
On defense, Jackson stopped a crucial goal-line play when he smashed into Lawrence County quarterback Kylan Cooper and forced a fumble that was recovered for a touchback by Logan Powell with less than three minutes to play. Sumrall got the ball at its own 20-yard line and ran out the clock for the victory.
Lawrence County 20
Score by Quarter
Lawrence County 6 7 7 0—20
Sumrall 7 21 0 6—34
S—Garrity, 1 run, (kick successful), 6:50.
LC—Grandberry, 1 run, (2-point unsuccessful), 1:01.
S—Jackson, 55 pass from Garrity, (kick successful), 7:24.
S—Garrity, 1 run, (kick successful), 2:42.
LC—Feazell, 75 kickoff return, (kick successful), 2:18.
S—Garrity, 12 run, (kick successful), 0:35.
LC—Cooper, 1 run, (kick successful), 2:38.
S—Garrity, 1 run, (kick unsuccessful), 9:06.
First Downs 8 12
Rushes-Yards 32-167 29-109
Att-Comp-Int. 5-2-1 16-9-2
Passing Yards 6 172
Total Plays-Yards 39-173 45-281
Punts-Avg. 2-26.5 2-43.0
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 1-0
Penalties 2-15 4-20
Lawrence County: Cooper 10-61 TD, Grandberry 13-44 TD, Cole 3-33, Tyler 4-27, Feazell 1-10, Hawthorne 1-(-8).
Sumrall: Lemieux 11-49, Garrity 12-29 4TDs, Cocroft 6-35.
Lawrence County: Cooper 2-of-5, 6 yds., 1 INT.
Sumrall: Garrity 9-of-16, 172 yds., 2 INTs.
Lawrence County: Grandberry 2-6.
Sumrall: Jackson 5-114, Berry 3-51, Lemieux 1-7.