An all-star cast of Rock Hill high school football coaches is trying to help South Carolina win the Youth Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.
Rock Hill youth football maven Perry Sutton runs the South Carolina portion of the Youth Shrine Bowl and he got York coach Bobby Carroll to take on head-coaching duties. Carroll turned to some very familiar faces to fill out his coaching staff: York’s David Pierce and Dustin Martin, South Pointe’s Pat Burris and retired Northwestern coach Jimmy Wallace. Former Northwestern football/baseball legend Cookie Massey is helping chaperone the South Carolina squad.
“We wanted to get dudes that have been special to me in my life,” said Carroll.
“You couldn’t beat that team they’ve got together,” said Sutton.
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The Youth Shrine Bowl is the same as the all-star game of the same name that’s featured the Carolinas’ best high school players since the 1930s. The games — one each for sixth, seventh and eighth graders — will be held Saturday, Dec. 29 at Matthews Sportsplex, at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Tickets cost $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. Ticket proceeds go to Shriner’s hospitals, which treat youth patients with a number of complex health issues, including burn victims and those needing prosthetic limbs.
The players come from across the state of South Carolina and most will have little or no knowledge of their coaches’ pedigree. One of them does, though. Curtis Wilmore III goes to Dutchman Creek Middle School. His dad, also a Curtis Wilmore, blocked a Gaffney field goal during the 1993 state championship game, won 2-0 by Northwestern.
“I’ve heard great stories about all these coaches,” the younger Wilmore said Friday. “I’m glad I can experience what he experienced.”
The connections these coaches have are deep and lifelong in many cases. Pierce and Sutton played football together at Rock Hill High. Pierce coached with Carroll and Wallace at Northwestern. Burris and Massey played under those three as Trojans, while Burris coached defensive backs for Carroll at South Pointe.
And Martin, the youngest of the group by a healthy margin, coaches at York now. He’s running the South Carolina squad’s offense this week.
Sitting atop that tree of coaching influence is Wallace. Wilmore III said he could tell Wallace, who coached his dad 25 years ago, loves the game.
“Coach Wallace has been a fireplug all week,” Sutton said. “He’s loving it.”