Jamal Cummings worked tirelessly throughout the summer in anticipation of a special year.
He figured he had a solid shot at a 1,000-yard season. What he didn’t know was that he’d reach the milestone in just his team’s sixth game.
The junior was at his best as Grovetown’s workhorse Friday night, rushing for 174 yards in the Warriors’ 28-14 home win over region foe Westside.
“I never thought that I would reach 1,000 this fast,” said Cummings, who rushed for 174 yards on 32 carries. “But I’m glad I did because it shows how hard I’ve been working.
“Being able to reach that kind of goal with the team spirit we have is great,” he added. “Our team’s really close, and when we all do something good, we cheer each other on.”
The Warriors (5-1, 2-0 Region 3-AAA North) showed off a trio of backs – Cummings, Terrell Hughes and Daniel Winfield – while attempting only one pass; the Hunter Peace throw hit off a receiver’s hands and was intercepted.
Hughes, a sophomore, started things off with a 23-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter for the game’s first score.
Minutes later, Cummings’ 2-yard score put the lead at 14-0.
Westside (3-3, 1-1) responded late in the second quarter with an athletic play from senior Roosevelt Isom. The 6-foot-4 receiver went up for a high-arcing pass by Jalen Lampkin and pulled it in for a 15-yard touchdown reception.
“I knew I had a shorter (defensive back) on me, and coach told me to make a play,” said Isom, who also had the interception. “He told the quarterback to give me a chance, and he gave me a chance. He made it happen.”
After halftime, and after Cummings had rolled up loads of yardage and
tired the Patriots’ defense, Winfield took over.
The big senior back got eight carries because Mickey Exum was dealing with a shoulder injury, and he took full advantage.
He took his third attempt 41 yards for a third-quarter touchdown that brought the lead back to 14 points.
After Daniel Williams got the Patriots back within one score with an 18-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter, Grovetown took more than five minutes off the clock with a 10-play, game-clinching scoring drive.
Winfield capped it off with a 9-yard touchdown run in which he carried several defenders over the goal line.
“I ain’t never had that,” Winfield said of nearly running for 100 yards, settling for 93 while averaging more than 10 yards a carry. “It’s a lot of fun. Kind of tiring, but a lot of fun.”
Grovetown ran for 325 yards while Westside was limited to 86.