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WESLEY CHAPEL — The host Wildcats were no match for powerhouse South Sumter in Thursday’s Kickoff Classic, but for coach Ben Alford the outcome was nowhere near as important as providing a stern test for his rebuilding team.
“We played a good team because we wanted to learn something,” Alford said after a 31-7 loss. “We’ve got a young team. We don’t have much depth so we got a little tired.”
Wesley Chapel and South Sumter played a scoreless first quarter and traded touchdowns in the second half, but the Raiders capitalized on four turnovers to score 24 points in the second quarter. Those mistakes proved costly as the Raiders scored 17 of their points off turnovers.
“Those were drive-killers,” Alford said.
Keanu Neal returned a punt 70 yards for the first touchdown. Raider teammates Max McLain and Paul Brown added scoring runs and Clay Simmons threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Garrett McMullen.
The Wildcats forced two turnovers in the second half with Chris Ayers and Jordan Goodloe coming up with interceptions.
Quarterback Ty Tanner scored the Wildcats’ lone touchdown on a quarterback sneak from 1 yard out with 44 seconds left.