FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
FOR THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
For the second year straight, the Tarboro Vikings had a player on the North Carolina Shrine Bowl roster. Last year it was Todd Gurley and this year it was senior defensive end Tyquan Lewis.
That was Lewis' last game as a high school football player, because he is graduating early and headed to college to enroll in school for the second semester. Lewis announced in September he was going to Ohio State to play football.
Lewis was part of the Vikings run the past four years to state championship games and won three state championship rings.
He was one of the players who helped guide the Vikings on their run to greatness.
Lewis' may want to forget his final two football games, because they have both been losses. He lost the state title game on Dec. 2 and on Saturday he lost in the Shrine Bowl. South Carolina defeated North Carolina 23-19 in the 76th edition of the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.
Mykal Moody (Conway) scored on a 5-yard run to give the Sandlappers a 16-13 lead with 14:03 remaining. South Carolina extended its lead on Lewis Keinan’s (Belton-Honea Path) 20-yard touchdown reception from a scrambling Julian Michael (Hilton Head) with less than four minutes to play.
“We came here to win,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Stackley of Stratford. “We wanted to be classy and support the Shriners and their hospitals, but we wanted to win this ballgame.”
Stackley said pundits didn’t give the Sandlappers a chance against the North Carolina all-star team, which featured 29 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision commits from Oregon to East Carolina.
South Carolina now leads the series 42-30-4. The annual all-star game began play in 1937.
North Carolina quarterback Noah Suber (T.C. Roberson) scored the second of his two touchdowns on a 10-yard scamper with 36 seconds to play to cut into the Sandlappers’ lead, but the point-after kick was blocked by Jaylen Miller (Gaffney).
The Sandlappers’ victory overshadowed the performance of University of South Carolina commit Pharoh Cooper (Havelock), who accounted for 243 all-purpose yards and was named North Carolina’s Offensive MVP.
Cooper spent most of the game as the Tarheels’ wildcat formation quarterback and kick returner, finishing with 104 rushing yards, 39 receiving yards and 110 return yards.
“I felt like as a team, we did a good job,” Cooper said. “We just came up a little short. It was good to come out and play well against these guys — against a lot of Division I players or players with Division I potential.”
Ben Hinson’s 21-yard field goal on the final play of the first half gave the Sandlappers a 9-6 lead at halftime.
The first half dominated by both defensive units.
resulted in only one first down for the Tarheels, whose first score was set up by South Carolina Mr. Football Terry Tramel’s (Goose Creek) fumble on the opening kickoff.
The two teams combined for two interceptions — one apiece — and seven fumbles in the first half, finishing with nine fumbles with three lost for the game. North Carolina accounted for three of the game’s four interceptions.
After recovering Tramel’s fumble at the South Carolina 8-yard line, Suber picked up a fumbled snap three plays later and scored from two yards out to put the Tarheels ahead 6-0 with 13:22 left in the opening quarter.
South Carolina responded with a 10-play, 90-yard drive capped by a 2-yard run by Romello Doctor (Ashley Ridge) to tie the game at 6-6 with 5:53 left in the first quarter.
The point-after attempts sailed wide following both touchdowns.