“I told him this morning, ‘this is a scholarship game,’ ” Beaufort head coach Mark Clifford said Friday night. “I guess I kind of fired him up.”
By him, Clifford is referring to junior running back Omar Cummings.
With 1,000-yard rusher Wyatt Sherpensky out for the season, Clifford hinted this week that Cummings would see more action than normal.
And he did — 393 yards and eight touchdowns worth of it. Cummings set the Eagles’ single-game records for rushing yard and touchdowns as Beaufort beat the Stags of Berkeley, 56-42, to finish the regular season at 5-5, 2-3 in Region 8-AAA.
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According to Clifford, the Eagles have claimed a playoff spot and will find out Saturday who they will face in the first round.
“It was a great ballgame, back and forth, back and forth, we had to hold them at the end,” Clifford said. “When we had the ball with 3 minutes left, it was still a seven-point game.”
Berkeley had tried to onside kick but failed, and Beaufort took over with good field position.
“Elijah Thower made a good recovery on the onside kick,” Clifford said. “We were trying to get first downs and run the clock out, But Omar hit another one.”
Clifford, who has had three 300-yard rushers as a head coach, said he sent a text to Gerald Legree, who had held the Beaufort single-game rushing record with 304 yards in a game against Battery Creek.
“I told him I kept his record safe for 11 years,” Clifford said.
The state record is for rushing touchdowns in a game is nine by Mayo's Frank Byrd in 1958
Late in the game, Clifford said he got upset with Cummings, though he laughed at it afterward.
“He’s humble, a real humble kid,” Clifford said. “I heard him tell his linemen, ‘I couldn’t have done it without you guys.’ I yelled at him with like 40 seconds left, ‘would you stop, it ain’t over yet.’ ”