SPARTANBURG, S.C — One of the highlights of the high school football season in the Carolinas is the annual Shrine Bowl, pitting the top players from North and South Carolina against one another to …
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SPARTANBURG, S.C — One of the highlights of the high school football season in the Carolinas is the annual Shrine Bowl, pitting the top players from North and South Carolina against one another to raise money annual for the Shriners Hospitals.
The 83rd rendition of the Shrine Bowl took place in Spartanburg, S.C., on Saturday afternoon at Gibbs Stadium on the campus of Wofford College.
And for the first time since 2014, the South Carolina Sandlappers tasted victory with a 28-17 decision over North Carolina.
Jalin Hyatt, a 6’2, 180-pound wideout from Dutch Fork High School sparked the South Carolina win with a spectacular performance that included six catches for 197 yards and two touchdowns for the Tennessee signee. Hyatt, who personally outgained an anemic Tar Heel offense that managed just 173 total yards in the contest, was named the MVP of the contest and caught touchdowns of 23 and 72 yards, the latter on a split screen to the right in the third quarter of action.
South Carolina amassed 411 yards in total offense in the game as two East Carolina signees, running back Rahjai Harris of Byrnes and quarterback Mason Garcia of Carolina Forest, finished with 95 yards rushing, scoring the final touchdown on a 23-yard run, and 153 passing yards and a touchdown, and 60 rushing yards and a score respectively. The Harris 23-yard scoring run on the victory clinching drive capped an 85-yard march late in the fourth period.
Hyatt caught a 23-yard scoring pass from Mikele Collard in the opening period to give South Carolina a 7-0 lead before North Carolina stormed back with 10 unanswered points in the second quarter to go up 10-7 at the half. The Tar Heels scored the 10 points on an intentional grounding penalty-turned-safety and a punt blocked by North Carolina’s Shane Whitter (Burlington Williams) which was scooped and returned by North Carolina’s Ja’Qurious Conley for a touchdown before a two-point conversion run. Conley, from Northside High School out of Jacksonville, is a North Carolina signee.
But in the third quarter, Hyatt flipped the momentum in favor of the black and red clad Sandlappers, taking a split screen pass to the right sidelines by Garcia, avoiding a Tar Heel defender, and sprinting up the sidelines untouched to paydirt and a 14-10 South Carolina lead.
North Carolina wasn’t finished, however, as the Tar Heels retook the lead at 17-14 when quarterback Javondre’ Paige (Greensboro Page) and receiver Ray Grier (Belmont South Point) connected on a 28-yard skinny post for a touchdown. Grier is another UNC signee playing in the event.
In the fourth quarter, Garcia capped off a five-play, 39-yard drive after rushing in a one-yard touchdown. The Sandlappers took the lead for good at 21-17 before adding the late scoring jaunt by Harris to ice the 28-17 victory.
Lee County’s Desmond Evans, the top player in the state of N.C. for the 2020 class and a UNC-signee, led the Tar Heels’ defense.
Only three of the top 12 players from the state of North Carolina in 2020 participated in the game, a disappointing percentage indeed. In addition to Evans, Clemson signee Mitchell Mayes, an offensive lineman from Leesville Road, ranked No. 5 overall, played as did Conley, the No. 7 overall ranked player.
South Carolina now leads the overall series 45-34-4, though the series had tilted into the favor of the green and gold Tar Heels during the past 15 years after the contest was pushed back a week to accommodate the NCHSAA state championships. North Carolina owns an 8-7 record overall in that span.