BUSHNELL - With the district crown already in hand, the South Sumter Red Raiders made it known they wouldn't be an easy out in the state playoffs, rolling an overmatched Weeki Wachee squad, 63-20.
"I'm proud our guys fought back," Weeki Wachee head coach Mark Lee said. "They are a good team, and we didn't quit."
Led by their ground offense, the Raiders (9-0 overall, 6-0 Class 5A, District 6) pounded out 445 yards on the ground led by standout sophomore J.T. Taylor, who had 142 yards on 10 carries.
The Raiders opened the scoring with a 1-yard dive by Taylor, but the Hornets (3-6 overall, 1-4 5A-6) quickly responded on the ensuing kickoff, as Tyler Wiley took the first of his two 90-yard returns to the house.
That would be as close as the Hornets would get. South Sumter would extend the lead on 1-yard runs by Ladovick Gibson and P.J. Brown.
Quarterback Levi Sapp would get his turn to get in on the scoring when he found Anderson Faulk on a screen pass, which Faulk broke into a 10-yard score.
Sapp would next target Deon Williams, who was wide open off a beautiful play-action pass for a 55-yard score.
Faulk would add in scoring runs of 12 and 22 yards in the second quarter, and Taylor would scamper 72 yards to make the halftime score 56-13 South Sumter.
In the first half, Weeki Wachee had little success moving the ball, totaling 90 yards of offense, 87 of which came from the arm of quarterback David Tinch.
Tinch was filling in for the starter Marcus Allen, who did not travel with the team via coach's decision, He completed 6-of-13 passes in the first half, including a beautiful 56-yard pass to Damien Kemper.
"David did a great job out there tonight," Lee said. "He hasn't had a lot of attempts, but he looked sharp."
The second half would move quickly with the aid of a running clock. The Raiders would score on one of their three possessions, a 21-yard run by Isial Flowers, one of the South Sumter reserves. Weeki Wachee would also tack on a score on a 1-yard run by Tinch.
Next up for the Hornets is a home date with Nature Coast.
"We have some film to watch on them," Lee said. "They are a good ballclub, and every county and district game is big."
Allen will be a game-time decision according to Lee, who said that his status for the game will be re-evaluated closer to kickoff. The coach's decision to have him not travel was not injury related.
South Sumter 63, Weeki Wachee 20
Qtr. Scoring 1 2 3 4
WW 6 7 0 7 - 20
SS 35 21 0 7 - 63
SS - Taylor 1 run (Moir kick)
WW - Wiley 90 kickoff return (Kick failed)
SS - Gibson 1 run (Moir kick)
SS - Brown 1 run (Moir kick)
SS - Faulk 10 pass from Sapp (Moir kick)
SS - Williams 55 pass from Sapp (Moir kick)
SS - Faulk 12 run (Moir kick)
WW - Wiley 90 kickoff return (D. Tinch kick)
SS - Taylor 72 run (Moir kick)
SS - Faulk 22 run (Moir kick)
WW - D. Tinch 1 run (Tinch kick)
SS - Flowers 21 run (Moir kick)
SS WWFirst Downs 27 7
Att/Rush Yds 48-445 23-44
Att/Comp/Int 9-13-0 11-21-0
Passing Yds 165 129
Total Offense 61-610 44-173
Return Yards 30 294
Punts/Avg 0-0 2-47
Fumbles/Lost 0-0 3-2
Penalties/Yards 7-65 0-0