Hernando played inspired football for a half on the road Friday against juggernaut South Sumter in a battle of undefeated teams in Class 5A, District 6 play. But the Leopards (2-4, 2-1) eventually succumbed 34-14 as the Raiders (7-0, 4-0) beat the Leopards for the eighth consecutive time dating to 1998.
"We were playing against a very good football team," Leopards coach Dwayne Mobley said. "We've got to come out and play for four quarters."
With the score tied 7-all with 2:09 remaining in the first half, Leopards senior Justin Roberts blocked a punt, and the ball was scooped up in the end zone by senior Tyquon Carr for a 14-7 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Leopards tried an onside kick, but didn't recover as the Raiders took possession at midfield in a drive that culminated in a Levi Sapp to J.T. Taylor 28-yard touchdown strike to tie at 14 just before the half.
The Raiders stormed out of the gate on their first possession of the second half with an Anderson Faulk 4-yard touchdown. One of three Raiders' interceptions in the second half set up Wes Moir's 35-yard field goal for 24-14 lead.
Faulk added another touchdown scamper from 60 yards in the third, and Moir added a field goal early in the fourth to cap the scoring.
Carr had an 18-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter from Tyler Kline to tie the score at 7-7 giving Hernando momentum.
"We came out strong, and we were clicking as a team, but we didn't step up in the second half," Carr said.
The Raiders held the Leopards to 84 total second-half yards, including minus-14 rushing yards in the third.