High School Sports

South Carolina pulls off upset over North Carolina

South Carolina quarterback Richard Mounce looks for an opening and runs for yardage as North Carolina's Austin Johnson tries to close the gap.
South Carolina quarterback Richard Mounce looks for an opening and runs for yardage as North Carolina's Austin Johnson tries to close the gap.

SPARTANBURG -- It was just a couple of weeks ago that Blythewood quarterback Richard Mounce and Summerville wide receiver A.J. Green were competing for the most coveted award in their sport.

It went to Mounce, who was named the 2007 South Carolina Mr. Football at Myrtle Beach High School.

They spent this week in Spartanburg, bonding and hoping they could help lead their South Carolina Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas team to victory over North Carolina's 44 all-stars.

The bonding and the game results went about as well as they could ask, with underdog South Carolina coming away with a 31-24 victory. The win broke a two-game N.C. victory streak and left South Carolina with two wins in the last seven games. S.C. leads the series, 39-28-8.

It also ended a big two weeks for Mounce, who was named South Carolina's offensive MVP after completing 9-of-18 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown.

Green is headed to Georgia next year and is widely considered the top high school receiver in the nation. Mounce is headed to Clemson to play baseball.

"As of right now, I haven't considered football as a career,'' Mounce said when asked after the game if he would reconsider his plans. "It was fun out there throwing to A.J. and the other guys. The coaches were great this week. My teammates were great.''

Green caught four passes for 108 yards and a touchdown, coming from Summerville teammate Reid McCollum, but it was obvious his reputation is well deserved by the way he went up and snatched the ball from defenders.

He had only two catches in the first half, but they went for 57 yards. The first came on South Carolina's second play, a 42-yard pass from Mounce. The catch kick-started a drive that covered 85 yards in seven plays, ending when Myrtle Beach linebacker Bruce Taylor put his team ahead, 6-0, on a 1-yard run.

Green's second catch of the half also came in the first quarter, a 16-yarder that moved his team to North Carolina's 21. The drive stalled, Eastside kicker Ryan Fowler put South Carolina ahead 10-0 with a 31-yard field goal.

"I took this game very serious. It was an honor to compete with the best players from both states," Green said.

South Carolina's 10-point lead was trimmed to 10-7 in the second quarter on a drive that began when North Carolina got an interception from T.C. Roberson's Josh Gossett, who picked off McCollum.

The Tarheels got on the board when Leesville Road's Taylor Gentry broke clear and was wide open to catch a pass from his high school teammate, Thomas Wilson, and turned it into a 47-yard touchdown.

South Carolina came out of the locker room and was greeted by a fired-up North Carolina team to start the second half. McCollum was intercepted by Thomasville's E.J. Abrams-Ward on his team's first possession. The second ended when Abrams-Ward recovered a Mounce fumble.

The fumble recovery set North Carolina up at its 38, and the Tarheels scored in seven plays on a 5-yard blast through the left side by West Iredell's Bobby Morrison, his team's offensive MVP.

The lead was short-lived, as South Carolina took over the game in the third quarter with a pair of touchdowns.

The first was a 42-yard pass from Mounce to Cheraw's Jaron Brown. The second was Green's 17-yard touchdown catch from McCollum. It pushed the score 24-14, putting the Sandlappers into a more comfortable position.

It did get a little touchy, with North Carolina adding a 34-yard field goal by Casey Barth, whose brother Conner is the kicker at the University of North Carolina. It put the Tarheels to within a touchdown and extra-point from tying the game.

South Carolina responded with a 31-yard touchdown run from Blue Ridge's J.J. Booker, which canceled out North Carolina's final TD, a 3-yard run by Northwood's Tobias Taylor.

Orangeburg-Wilkinson's Sterling Lucas was voted South Carolina's defensive MVP. He had eight tackles, a fumble recovery and an interception in the end zone that stopped a North Carolina touchdown.

He was one of two Bruins players South Carolina head coach Reggie Kennedy brought with him from Orangeburg. Kennedy was scheduled to be an assistant coach, but was appointed head coach after Blue Ridge's David Farnham passed away.

"We dedicated this game to him,'' Kennedy said. "The mishap of him passing, as a team and a family we wanted to win this for him.

"We've had a great week and it's good I got to experience this with Sterling.''

North Carolina South Carolina

• Defense the name of the game for South Carolina • 2D