South Sumter won the war of attrition Friday night and pulled away in the second half against Zephyrhills enroute to a 38-24 win snapping the Bulldogs’ five-game win streak.
The Red Raiders held just a 10-7 advantage at halftime after a defensive battle. The Bulldogs held a 7-0 lead in the first quarter following a 60-yard interception return by Tristan Lennon. South Sumter put up 10 points in the second quarter to take a 10-7 lead into the locker room at half time.
The Bulldogs knotted the score at 10-10 early in the third quarter, but the Red Raiders took a commanding lead at 24-10 behind a strong running game and a defensive touchdown. The Bulldogs answered with a touchdown reception by Jared Cason to cut the deficit to 24-17 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We need to establish some kind of rhythm with our running game on offense,” said Carroll. “We can’t turn the ball over and give up a pick six. We have to execute on offense.”
The Red Raiders, who sport a massive roster in comparison to the Bulldogs, kept substituting fresh players. Zephyrhills had most of its players playing both ways. South Sumter added two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to stretch the lead to 38-17. Zephyrhills scored a late touchdown when Brendyn Colella hit DJ Pickett with a 69-yard TD pass.
“They kept battling the whole game,” Carroll said. “Almost everybody played both ways. I’m proud of our kids.”