Eight high school football players from The Herald’s coverage area played in either the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas or the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl all-star games on Saturday.
South Pointe duo Jaylen Mahoney and Jackson Chappell both played in the Shrine Bowl over in Spartanburg, while Narii Gaither (Rock Hill), Jalen Tatah (Lancaster), Joe Ervin (South Pointe), Heze Massey (Clover), Dewuan McCullum (Nation Ford) and Lane Towery (York) all suited up for the North squad during the game formerly known as the North-South all-star game. Clover head coach Brian Lane served as an assistant coach in that game, down in Myrtle Beach at Coastal Carolina’s stadium.
The Shrine Bowl finished in a 10-10 tie, the game’s first tie in over 70 years. The Shrine Bowl game doesn’t play overtime.
Mahoney, a Vanderbilt-committed cornerback, notched six tackles. In the second quarter, he was covering a punt and hit the North Carolina return man hard just as he fumbled the football, though the Tarheels recovered.
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“It was good and fun,” Mahoney said after the game. “Got to meet a lot of the top players in South Carolina and North Carolina, it was a good college experience.”
Playing center, Chappell touched the football as much as anyone during Saturday’s game. Both teams’ offenses struggled to get on the same page, unsurprising for an all-star game but an issue exacerbated by the wintry weather this week that kept both teams indoors for about half the week’s practices.
“Our whole team just kind of came together,” said Chappell, who has scholarship offers from Presbyterian, Wingate, Coastal Carolina and Newberry. “We were like a family up there.”
Northwestern’s Fentrell Cypress and Jamario Holley and Chester’s Wyatt Tunall were also Shrine Bowl picks, but none of the three played Saturday for various reasons.
There were eight total turnovers in the the North-South game, which the South squad won for the first time in three years, 13-10.
Ervin, who committed to play college ball at Kansas State this week, scored on a nifty 17-yard touchdown in the third quarter. He ran into the middle of the line, but bounced left into open teal turf for the TD. Ervin finished with 102 yards rushing and was named the North team’s offensive MVP, giving South Pointe the North team’s top offensive award for the second straight year. Former South Pointe standout Steven Gilmore Jr., won the award in the 2017 version of the game.
Tatah, an offensive tackle with scholarship offers from Wingate, Newberry, Presbyterian, Tusculum and Lenoir-Rhyne, and a preferred walk-on offer from South Carolina, was voted one of the North squad’s team captains, a pick made by the team’s players.
York’s Towery also played on the offensive line alongside Tatah.
Gaither, who picked up his first FCS-level offer from Gardner-Webb on Friday, carried the ball six times for 28 yards.
McCullum, who is headed to Texas-San Antonio to play college football, snagged two passes for 19 yards.
And Massey, the receiver with offers from Presbyterian and Limestone, caught a pair of passes for 26 yards.
Chester’s Tunall was a finalist for Mr. Football, but that award went to T.L. Hanna’s Zacch Pickens.