High School Sports

Football preview: Sumter

Sumter’s Gamecocks, fresh from a fine 10-3 campaign in 2007, enter the new football season with high expectations again.

Star power is one reason why. The Gamecocks welcome back headliners Roderick McDowell and Stephen Curtis on offense and Quinn McClendon and Kevin Sinkler on defense.

McDowell has already run for more than 3,000 yards in his career and should even more productive in his senior season. McDowell piled up 1,399 yards rushing on 158 totes as a junior and scored 21 toudchdown by land. He also caught five scoring passes. Curtis is back at quarterback after completing 112 of 196 passes for 1,781 yards. McClendon was the leading tackler on the team at his linebacker position last season with 157 stops. Cornerback Sinkler, meanwhile, had 60-plus tackles and seven interceptions in 2007. Sinkler will team up with free safety Timmy Rogers and strong safety Cardell Scarborough to give Sumter one of the top defensive backfield’s in the state.

McDowell has already committed to Clemson, while Kentucky is showing more than cursory interest in McClendon and Sinkler.

Receivers Tyler Smith and Travis Fredimon are primed for big years.

Veterans Michael Miller and Justin Simmons are the leaders on the offensive line. Another player to watch up front is 6-foot-7 junior tackle Marquis Pair. Carrison Oxendine and Ricardo Mullins head up the defensive line.

Sumter remains in Region 6-4A after sharing first-place honors with Conway a year ago. The region is up to six teams this year with the addition of Carolina Forest. The Gamecocks open the season at home against area rival Crestwood on Aug. 29.