December 16, 2008

Local stars say Shrine Bowl will be place to shine

ROEBUCK -- South Pointe beat Northwestern 35-14 in the Class AAAA Division II state championship game a couple of Fridays ago, but that hasn't affected the relationship between Jarrett Neely and Stephon Gilmore.

Gilmore ran for three touchdowns and passed for another in the stallions' victory.

They are teammates this week as they prepare for the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas All-Star Football Game on Saturday at Wofford's Gibbs Stadium.

Gilmore will play quarterback and Neely will be one of his prime targets.

"Playing with Stephon makes it easy for me over here with all these players I'm just getting to know," Neely said. "We've only had one practice, but he throws the ball well, puts it where it's easy to catch.

"But he can do a lot of things well and it's good to have a leader like him. We also have South Pointe's Pete Roseboro at linebacker and Rock Hill's Asa Watson at receiver, and we've made a deal that the Rock Hill guys will make impact on Saturday."

BERNICE: Since we mentioned the four local players in Saturday's game, we shouldn't leave out South Pointe's Bernice Woodard, South Carolina's student reporter.

Woodard was chosen from a stack of applicants and is writing daily newsletters for her team. She gets all the official team clothing and is treated the same as the players.

Her first story?

"I wrote about our four players," Woodard said. "Most of us are friends. I go to South Pointe with Stephon and Pete, and I was in the fifth grade with Jarrett at Richmond Drive."

QBS: Gilmore is sharing time at quarterback with Summerville's Donny McElveen and Fairfield Central's Justin Trapp.

All three will get playing time Saturday, but the player who gets into a groove will be the one on the field when the game is on the line.

"The good thing is we have all these good receivers and we're running an offense similar to the one at South Pointe," Gilmore said. "After just one practice, we're already coming together. We'll take some hits from North Carolina, but we'll get up and keep going."

Gilmore said he had an in-home meeting with South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and one of his assistants last week.

"They told they are going to put some plays in with me at quarterback," Gilmore said. "That's fine with me because I'll still get to play in the defensive secondary."

NEW PLAN: South Carolina's coaches were so impressed with the videos they watched of Watson, that he has been moved to receiver and is not lining up at tight end as he expected.

"I'll still block, but I'll be split out instead of being part of the offensive line," Watson said. "It think this helps make me better because I want to play wide receiver in college."

REPLACEMENTS: North Carolina put out the call for two alternate players on Monday. Assistant coach Bruce Ollis from Polk County said N.C. State commitment Everett Proctor was injured in last weekend's state championship game and tried to go on Monday.

Proctor, from Jack Britt in Fayetteville, told the coaches he couldn't go full speed. South Point's (Belmont) Desmond Holloway was called in to take his place and arrive later in the afternoon.

Jamill Lott, a 6-0, 180-pound defensive back from Kannapolis A.L. Brown, was brought in to replace Davie County's Perry James, who injured his hand.

HEART WINS: One of the game's biggest players isn't too far from home, which seems to be a trend.

J.K. Jay, a 6-foot-7, 270-pound offensive lineman from Greenville's Christ Church, is one of the most sought-after players in the country and made an early commitment to Clemson.

But when Tommy Bowden stepped down as the Tigers' coach, Jay had a change of heart and began talking with Georgia.

"It was tough and I liked coach Bowden," Jay said. "And I really was close to de-committing and going to Georgia. But I gave it a lot of thought and decided Clemson was where I should be. I grew up pulling for the Tigers."

HEAD BANGERS: To ensure the safety of the players, game organizers made a change in policy this year. Instead of wearing the Shrine Bowl helmets, players will wear the ones they brought from home.

"Those are the ones that fit them and the ones they are most comfortable wearing," S.C. escort Heathman Munn said.

CHICK: Gilmore and Roseboro will miss a South Pointe team event on Wednesday, but they are where they should be.

Chick-Fil-A on Cherry Road is hosting Stallions Night. South Pointe coach Bobby Carroll and his team will be there from 5-8 p.m. Chick-Fil-A will donate 10 percent of sales from those three hours toward purchasing state championship rings for the football team.

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