High School Football

Panthers fall to Gamecocks

Sumter fumbled 10 times.The Gamecocks were flagged for twice as many penalty yards as Carolina Forest.None of that mattered.The Panthers fell 40-0 to their Region VI-AAAA opponent Friday night, furthering what has been a stressful season thus far for coach Drew Hummel.``We're playing with backups to backups,'' Hummel said. ``We are now to the point where we are, basically, a young JV football team. We're doing the best we can.''On top of the loss, another injury might pose problems for the next two games.Hummel believes offensive tackle Matt Snelling suffered a medial collateral ligament injury in his knee during the game. Linebacker B.J. Washington, one of the squad's few remaining seniors, also left the game with an undisclosed injury.That certainly didn't help Carolina's Forest's chances, but the Panthers (0-9, 0-3 region) were never really in contention Friday.Sumter (8-1, 3-0) tailback Roderick McDowell took over from the beginning. Playing only about a quarter and a half, McDowell racked up 172 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries.His three scores nearly became four. He broke off a 57-yard run midway through the second half, only to have it called back because of a penalty away from the play.It was about the only thing that could stop the talented senior.Carolina Forest's offense had nowhere near the weapons to compete.Quarterback Matt Jolly started in place of Marlon Horton, who was suspended one game for what Hummel called conduct detrimental to the team earlier in the day.Between the quick switch and the weather, it was not Jolly's night.He completed just two of his first 14 pass attempts. ``He hasn't had a ton of playing time,'' Hummel said. ``It's an unfortunate situation we had to deal with, but our concept of beliefs comes first.''While Hummel was disappointed in the result, he said he did not regret being one of the few teams in the area to play Friday evening.``Me and [Sumter coach Paul] Sorrells talked. I'm a football guy; he's a football guy,'' Hummel said. ``Football's meant to be played, and we decided to play the game."