MYRTLE BEACH -- The South players were eyeballing those on the North team Thursday morning.
It happens all week at North-South practice in Myrtle Beach, with each team checking the other out. But this look had the South seeing red, and we're not talking about the official color of their jerseys.
The North coaches gave in and let their players go ahead and put the team logo decals they've traded for on their helmets but not just for the heck of it.
A rule was put in this year that the players couldn't decorate their headgear until Friday because it was easier to identify them with only their team decals on the helmets. The main reason was to help the college coaches keep up with the players they were looking at.
"The college coaches went home after Wednesday morning's practice,'' said Maurice Brown, a linebacker from Blacksburg. "None of them came back for the afternoon practice, so we decided to go ahead and work on our helmets.
"We've been trading decals all week, so last night we put them on. The ones everybody tried to get were the ones from Byrnes, Clover, Gaffney and Chester. I think the two Gaffney players might have one from every school.''
• MR. FOOTBALL: The South Carolina Mr. Football Award will be handed out tonight in Myrtle Beach High School's auditorium.
The ceremony is annually tied in with the North-South Game and also pays honor to its coaches and players. It starts at 7:30 and tickets are $15 at the door. It is not a banquet.
This year's nominees are: Bruce Taylor, LB, Myrtle Beach; Everett Dawkins, DL, Byrnes; Daquan Bowers, DL-RB-KR, Bamberg-Ehrhardt; A.J. Green, WR, Summerville; Dalton Freeman, OL-DL, Pelion; Gene McCaskill, QB-RB-WR, Chester; Richard Mounce, QB, Blythewood; and Michael Ruff, QB-RB-WR-DB, Whitmire.
Last year's winner was Gaffney quarterback Malcolm Long, a freshman this past season at S.C. State.
• LET IT FLY: Great Falls' Jeremy Simpson has been practicing at wide receiver and defense this week, but come Saturday he expects to be tackling ball carriers, not being tackled.
"I'm very excited about our defense,'' he said. "We are big up front, fast at linebacker and faster at defensive back. We have a lot of good players back there, and the South team will find out how good if they try to pass.''
Simpson said the rotation has not been determined, but the others in the secondary are Lewisville's Antwan Robinson, Chester's Terrell Springs, Gaffney's Johnny Woods, Union County's Marcus Lott, Clinton's Marquis McGowan and Ware Shoals' Patrious Leverett.
"Our guys back there can fly,'' Simpson added.
• NEW?: Gaffney is headed back to Region 3-AAAA the next two years, where they've played in the past. But it's not the same.
Rock Hill and Lancaster were moved to Region 4-AAAA outside Columbia, along with Rock Hill's newest school, South Pointe. Gaffney will join Clover, Fort Mill, Nation Ford, Northwestern and York in 3-AAAA.
"We played there my sophomore, but it won't be as much fun without Rock Hill,'' Gaffney's Woods said. "The guys coming back will get to play Clover, the Division II state champion and Northwestern, but no Rock Hill.
"I won't be here, but it seems like they would have left the Rock Hill schools together and let us stay in Region 2-AAAA. Our guys love playing Byrnes, Dorman and Spartanburg. Maybe they'll change it back in two years.''
Gaffney's two-year run as the Class AAAA DI state champ was stopped this year. It was stopped in a one-point loss in the semifinals and Summerville was beaten 48-9 by Byrnes in the title game.
"It was weird,'' Gaffney tight end David Dewberry said. "We needed to make one more stop and didn't. Our defense carried us all year and then it's like we played 80 percent against Summerville. The surprise was our offense stepped up in the game, but none of us on either side on the ball did enough.''