Maybe there should be another award presented at the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association North-South All-Star Football Game.
Two most valuable players are chosen from each team, one for defense and the other for offense. But after the fiasco at Myrtle Beach High's Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium on Saturday, a 23-6 North win, maybe an award should be given to the most important factor of the game - the rain.
Myrtle Beach has a turf field, similar to the one at District Three Stadium in Rock Hill. The wet turf caused havoc in holding on to the ball.
"Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers.'' South head coach Ray Stackley of Stratford said. "It rained on both teams, but it got the best number of mistakes from us. Turnovers led to 17 of their points. Give credit to the North for making the most of what we gave them.''
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On the game's second possession, the North failed to move the ball and South Pointe's Landon Ard punted. Bamberg-Ehrhardt's Carl Williams fumbled the punt and the North recovered at the 11 yard line.
The North failed to punch the ball in and Ard kicked a 27-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Late in the first half, Hanahan quarterback Derek Coblentz was intercepted and the ball was returned to the South's 32. The North lost yardage went for it on fourth-and-19 from the 41.
It was a good decision by North head coach Bennie McMurray of Lancaster and his staff. Dorman quarterback Nelson Hughes fired a 41-yard scoring strike to Northwestern's Robert Joseph.
"This has been a great end to my high school career,'' Joseph said. "We win the region title, win the state championship and end up with Northwestern's first perfect record, 15-0.
"Then I get to come here and be part of winning in my last high school game. I had to score on a pass but if not, I'd have to take one back on special teams. All of this just feels so good right now.''
The North intercepted another South pass with 2:48 left.This time the result was a touchdown, a 39-yard dash to the end zone by Spartanburg's Daquan Brown, who was voted the North's defensive MVP.
"That touchdown put us up 16-0 and all we had to do after that was hold off the South,'' Brown said. "We didn't take anything for granted because there was another half to play. But that's a good score (16-0) and defensive players like to be able to work with a lead that good at the half.''
The three turnovers were the beginning of the end for the South. The South team fumbled six times, losing five, and threw two interceptions. The North fumbled eight times but lost only one and threw no interceptions.
At halftime the rain let up and a slight hint of sunshine crept through cracks in the clouds. Along with the weather change, came what appeared to be a resurgence of the South's offense.
Midway through the third quarter, Pendleton's Devon Brown recovered the fumble the North lost at the 11. On third down, Brookland-Cayce's Jonathan Rumph, the South's offense MVP, scored on an 11-yard pass from North Augusta's Loranzo Hammonds.
The North's final points came after another South fumble, recovered by Chester linebacker Neil Williams at the 15. The North scored in four plays, capping the drive on an 11-yard run by Berea's Edward Williams.
With the victory, the North takes a 35-25-2 lead in the series. McMurray ran his record in all-star games to 6-0-1. Four in football, two and a tie in baseball.
"This game came down to weather and our defense, McMurray said. "The wet ball kept both teams from passing and we had to rely on the run.
"We had some good, quick players up front on defense. The made plays and helped our linebackers get in position to make plays. They did a good job of keeping us from depending on our secondary to make tackles.''
NOTES: South Pointe's Ard had a tough day, but McMurray was quick to point out it wasn't the fault of his talented kicker.
Two long snappers were unable to play. McMurray had to use whatever worked and before the game was over, turned to his third choice, a wide receiver.
Ard missed a field goal, an extra point and had a punt partially blocked. He also picked up a poor snap and tried a drop kick that failed. He also might have a broken hand.
Otherwise, it was a good day. Ard punted nine times for a 33.3 average. That's way below with norm of 44 yards, but several were short-field punts and he dropped five inside the 20 and had a 61-yarder.
Ard added a 27-yard field goal and had two touchbacks on kickoffs.
MVP: The other MVPs were Dawan Scott for the North on offense and Terrence Jenrette on defense for the South.
OTHER LOCALS: Joseph had one catch for 41 yards and a touchdown; Williams had four tackles, two sacks 2.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble; Lancaster's Daniel Foster had four tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss.
Northwestern's Stephen Nance played on the offensive line and Northwestern's Tom Turner ended his high school coaching career as a North assistant.
NORTH 23, SOUTH 6
N - Landon Ard 27 field goal
N - Robert Joseph pass from Nelson Hughes (Ard kick)
N - Daquan Brown 39 interception return (kick failed)
S - Jonathan Rumph 11 pass from Loranzo Hammonds (pass failed)
N - Edward Williams 11 run (Ard kick)
RUSHING: North - Dawan Scott 11-51; Brandon Wilds 12-49; Edward Williams 17-36; Malcolm Harris 2-8; TEAM 2-minus 5; Justin Suber 10-minus 7; Nelson Hughes; 8-minus 9; Tamyn Garrick 1-minus 9. South - Ryan Barnwell 11-42; Jerome Jordan 3-9; Rakeem White 7-5; Loranzo Hammonds 14-minus 5; TEAM 1-minus 8; Mitch Campbell 2-minus 9; Byron Mayes 1-minus 9.
PASSING: North - Nelson Hughes 2-4-0-49; Justin Suber 0-2-0-0; Tamyn Garrick 0-2-0-0. South - Loranzo Hammonds 5-14-1-60; Derek Coblentz 3-7-1-14; Mitch Campbell 1-4-0-4.
RECEIVING: North - Robert Joseph 1-41; Dajohn Rowland 1-8. South - Jonathan Rumph 4-38; John Israel 2-35; Devohnte Thompson 1-7; Kentrell Disher 1-1; Rakeem White 1-minus 3.