Bradford shut out by South Sumter, 41-0

Published: Friday, October 5, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 12:36 a.m.

STARKE — Bradford entered Friday's contest against Bushnell South Sumter looking to stay at the top of the District 4-4A race. Unfortunately for Bradford, that plan wasn't in the cards for the Raiders as they defeated the Tornadoes 41-0.

Six different players reached the end zone for South Sumter (6-0, 2-0), including four-star Florida commit Keanu Neal, who scored on a 7-yard run in the third quarter to put the Raiders ahead 21-0.

"(Neal) is the best product to ever play at our school," South Sumter coach Inman Sherman said. “He is just an incredible football player with a 3.7 GPA, and the coaches from Florida are staying very closely in touch with him. He always brings it, every play.”

Neal also had an interception at the end of the first half after the Tornadoes (3-2, 1-1) drove the ball to the 1-yard line on a 50-yard pass to Kenny Dinkins from Jacob Luke as time expired. The Tornadoes were then granted one more play after a defensive penalty by the Raiders.

But Neal’s interception stifled Bradford’s chance to cut the game to one score and South Sumter led 14-0 at halftime.

“We knew they were stacking the box, which they were, and that they were bringing the house, which they did. The play just didn’t turn out the way we had hoped,” Bradford first-year coach Steve Reynolds said.

On its first drive of the game, Bradford managed to chew up about nine minutes of clock before turning the ball over on downs inside the red zone.

“The first quarter belonged to us, by far,” Reynolds said. “But the bottom line is, it comes down to finishing drives, holding on to the football and getting it in the end zone and we just didn’t do that tonight.”

South Sumter defeated Bradford last year 22-21 before winning the district crown.

“Last year we were lucky to win against Starke (Bradford),” Sherman said. “They are a very good football team and this was one of the games that was worrying me the most.”

Keystone Heights is the front-runner in District 4-4A after its win over Umatilla on Friday. South Sumter is in second place at 2-0 and Bradford is tied for third with Mount Dora at 1-1. Bradford hosts Keystone Heights next week.

“There is no doubt we are still in this,” Reynolds said. “We are out for perfection, all these wins and all these playoff berths will take care of itself if we just stick by our plan, we focus and we play with great effort.”

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