Nathan Harris-Waynick scored three touchdowns in the first half and added a fourth in the second for good measure as the Sumter Gamecocks rolled over the St. James Sharks 50-7 Friday night.
“This was the best game we’ve played all season,” said Sumter head coach Mark Barnes.
While Harris was the star of the game, it was the defense that got things going for Sumter.
On the opening drive, St. James quarterback Joey McMenamin saw his pass picked off by Deshawn McKnight and returned for a Gamecock touchdown.
“That was big because we’ve been horrible in the first half,” Barnes said. “[It was encouraging] to see us get off to good start and then offensively play good too.”
Following a St. James punt, Harris found the end zone for his first touchdown of the night to make it 13-0 Gamecocks with 7:45 remaining in the first.
The Sharks’ only score of the night came on the ensuing drive when McMenamin found Justice Williams for a 45-yard touchdown strike to cut the lead to six with less than five minutes to go in the first.
Sumter kept the offense going in the second quarter thanks to a 10-yard touchdown run from Harris to make it 19-7.
A little over halfway through the second quarter, Harris notched his third touchdown to increase the Gamecock lead to 19.
“Nate has been good for us all year,” Barnes said. “He’ll be the first to tell you that our offensive line, tight ends and H-backs did a great job tonight blocking and getting him into the second level.”
The Gamecocks would go into the half with a 29-7 lead following a field goal from Jehu McCray as time expired.
Harris capped his night off with a fourth touchdown run at the 10:21 mark in the third to give the Gamecocks a 36-7 lead.
Junior QB Ryan McCants would get in on the action late in the third to put the Gamecocks ahead 43-7.
Sumter added another touchdown at the beginning of the fourth to complete the victory.
Sumter now moves to 4-0 on the year and 3-0 in region play. The Gamecocks will host Conway next Friday, a matchup that Barnes said is usually a good one.
“We have a lot of respect for them,” he said.
For St. James, the loss puts them at 1-4 on the year and 0-3 in region play.
St. James head coach Tommy Norwood said his team just has to get better.
"We've got a long ways to go and a lot to improve," he said. "We know where we're at and we just have to get a lot better."
There were some bright spots on the night for the Sharks, despite the blowout loss. McMenamin showed some flashes of brilliance in only his second start of the season.
"He's done a good job for us," Norwood said. "I can't complain a bit on the job that Joey has done. He made a few plays as well as a few mistakes but he just has to keep working on getting better."
St. James travels to Carolina Forest next week. The Panthers routed Socastee 41-6 on Friday.