North Carolina and South Carolina combined for 93 points in last year’s Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. It was a new record set for the 79th annual all-star high school football game between the two states.
But on Saturday, in the 80th game, points were hard come by, as North Carolina won 17-10 on a game-winning 18-yard touchdown pass with 20 seconds left.
A pass interference call with 35 seconds left in the game, put North Carolina at South Carolina’s 19-yard-line. North Carolina and Myers Park quarterback Jack Davidson, who is uncommitted, attempted two passes into the end zone before his third found Northwest Guilford’s Thomas Hennigan on a fade route.
“That corner was talking,” said Hennigan, an Appalachian State commit. “He was a nice guy, but he was talking all night, so I had to give it to him.”
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North Carolina scored 17 unanswered points to win the game.
For North Carolina, Davidson won offensive MVP. He threw for 174 yards and two touchdowns, hitting on 16 of 30 passes, most coming in the second half.
Inside linebacker Christian Dixon, a 6-foot, 200-pound linebacker, who is uncommitted, won defensive MVP. Dixon, from Matthews Butler who came on as an alternate, had four tackles.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” he said. “I was just grateful and thankful for being here in the game. Winning defensive MVP is amazing.”
Quarterback Jackson Williamson, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound Miami of Ohio commit, won offensive MVP for the South Carolina. He threw for 109 yards and a touchdown on 12-for-20 passing. He also rushed for 31 yards.
Brad Johnson, a 6-3, 230-pound defensive lineman, who is uncommitted, won defensive MVP for South Carolina. He finished with seven tackles.
The game pitted the top South Carolina seniors versus the top North Carolina seniors.
Both defenses came up big.
South Carolina had only six first downs for the game. North Carolina had 18, but couldn’t convert them into points until the second half.
North Carolina did not get into its opponent’s territory until the second quarter.
On the first possession of the game, Davonne Bowen, a 6-3, 220-pound linebacker, and the No. 3 rated recruit in South Carolina, forced a fumble that put South Carolina inside North Carolina’s 20-yard line.
South Carolina turned that turnover into a field goal with 10:53 left in the first quarter.
Five minutes later, South Carolina would make it 10-0, after Williamson threw a 43-yard touchdown to Shiyun Smith, a 5-10, 180-pound wide receiver, and South Carolina commit. He jumped over the defender guarding him and walked into the end zone.
North Carolina scored its first points off a 39-yard field goal with 12:20 left in the second quarter to cut the lead to 10-3.
But in the second half, North Carolina’s defense dominated. South Carolina only managed two first downs.
“They got up on us quick, but the kids kept on fighting,” North Carolina coach David Lovette said. “I don’t think there’s any sweeter thing than getting down big a little bit and coming back and winning.”
Area player stats
RB Larry Rountree III (Millbrook) - Rountree III ran 14 times for 78 yards. His longest was a 22-yard run.
LB John Singleton (Middle Creek) - Singleton intercepted a pass, had three tackles, one for a loss.
LB Devondrez Moore (Orange) - Moore had two tackles, two for loss.
DL Matthew Butler (Garner) - Butler had one tackle and one quarterback hurry.
DL Stone Edwards (Orange) - Edwards had two tackles and one sack.
K Noah Giroux (Garner) - Giroux made one of two field goals.