The 63rd annual South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association North-South All-Star Game has the promise of being a scoring affair each year regardless of the players on the North and South rosters.
And this year's game, which kicks off at 12:30 p.m. today at Myrtle Beach High School's Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium should be no different.
As Lancaster football coach Bennie McMurray stated after his North team's last practice on Friday, it's no secret that defense is always ahead of the offense in all-star games. But "that's good,'' he said because it gives his coaches time to teach the offense they plan to use in a short period of time.
That was exactly nine two-hour practices and the students were players from spread, power-I and wing-T sets.
"Defense is easy,'' McMurray said. "You just tell your kids to pin their ears back and go. What you worry about is your offense, getting everything right so you can put the hay in the barn.
"We want to run a balanced offense. We have a big power back in Blythewood's Brandon Wilds (6-1, 220) who is going to South Carolina. What we've been impressed with is our small backs. They run behind big linemen with wide butts, and it's hard to find them.''
McMurray said the "little'' guys are Spartanburg's Daquan Brown (5-5, 165), Ridge Spring-Monetta's Malcolm Harris (5-7, 185) and Irmo's Corey White (6-0, 170).
But there will be plenty of passes thrown by Dorman's Nelson Hughes, Williston-Elko's Tamin Garrick and Dutch Fork's Justin Suber. One of their favorite targets has been Northwestern record-setting receiver Robert Joseph, not a big player himself at 5-9, 170.
Stratford's Ray Stackley, head coach of the South, said although his team is small he's impressed with its speed on both sides of the ball.
"We have some quick running backs in Stratford's Ryan Barnwell and Berkeley's Rahkeem White. But we also want to throw. Unfortunately, the weather has been bitter cold this week, and that has slowed us down.
"This is usually an offensive game, but we have some quick defensive linemen and ends who really get after it. They need to keep our secondary from making tackles.''
ANOTHER FIRST: According to Lexington football coach Scott Earley, the game's logistics director, another first has been recorded this year.
South Pointe kicker Landon Ard was elected defensive captain for the North. The captains were voted on by all 45 players. Earley said a check revealed that in the 62-year history of the game, no kicker has ever been voted captain.
Wilds is the North's offensive captain.
The South players chose North Augusta quarterback Larenzo Hammonds and South Florence defensive back Dominique Cooper.
DEDICATION: Today's game is dedicated to Jim Fraser, football coach at Aiken for six years and at T.L. Hanna 16 seasons.
Fraser had winning records in 20 of 23 seasons. He retired with a 167-81-6 record. Fraser's teams won eight region championships and one Upper State championship.
He is past president of the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association, a member of the SCACA Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Joyce, live in Anderson.
LOCALS: There are seven local players and coaches on the North squad, including McMurray, Ard and Joseph.
The others are Northwestern offensive lineman Stephen Nance, Chester linebacker Neil Williams, Lancaster defensive lineman Daniel Foster and Northwestern assistant coach Tom Turner.
TRADITION: Years ago it became tradition for players to bring helmet logo decals, trade them right away and attach them to their head gear on Sunday night before Monday morning's first practice.
That changed at the request of college coaches who attend practice. They asked that the decals not be attached because knowing the school helmets was their best way of identifying the players at practice since most wore different numbers than those at their schools.
A deal was struck. The players couldn't put the decals on their helmets until Friday night and could wear them that way in the game. It hasn't stopped the tradition but has slowed the trade.
"I just got rid of my last one,'' said Miles Agnew, a defensive lineman from Belton-Honea Path. But I started trading the day we got here and got the ones everybody wanted most, Byrnes and Dorman. I don't know why, but they are the must-have decals.''