A pair of Fords: Hilton Head Island, Bluffton defensive linemen named to Shrine Bowl

ccox@islandpacket.com, mmccombs@islandpacket.comOctober 10, 2013 

Defensive linemen Poona Ford of Hilton Head Island High, left, and K.J. Ford of Bluffton, right, have been named to the South Carolina team for the 77th Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

DELAYNA EARLEY — Staff photo Buy Photo

"Home for the holidays" will be a meaningless saying for Poona Ford this year.

He's going to be spending most of his Christmas break on the road.

The Hilton Head Island High School defensive lineman was named, along with defensive lineman K.J. Ford of Bluffton High, to the South Carolina roster for the 77th Annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas to be held Dec. 21 at Spartanburg's Gibbs Stadium.

The Seahawks' Ford has an added commitment in December, as well. He reports Dec. 28 to Los Angeles to begin practice for the Jan. 5 Semper Fi All-American Bowl. Ford will officially accept his invitation and receive his jersey at Hilton Head Island's pep rally on Friday.

"He deserves it for everything he's accomplished on the field and off the field," Hilton Head Island coach B.J. Payne said. "For how good of a kid he is, the example he sets on the field and off the field, there's not enough honors for him. He's a really good player too."

The Louisville commitment is having a stellar year. He has 63 tackles, including 13 for loss, and 4 1/2 sacks through six games. He has also carried the ball 19 times for 87 yards and four short-yardage touchdowns on offense.

"It's an honor," Ford said. "It's an accomplishment that I'm really proud of. I think it's going to be a big experience."

Ford said his main goal is to soak up the experience.

"I'm just looking to have fun and get coached and learn as much as I can," he said.

Unlike Hilton Head Island's Ford, who has played considerable time on both sides of the ball, Bluffton's K.J. Ford has seen limited action this season.

He has missed four games because of a broken finger, and, as a result, his numbers do not match his talent. He has 12 tackles, including six for loss, and a sack this year.

Bluffton coach Ken Cribb knows the numbers don't mean anything.

"When you watch him play one play or 100 plays, I think you see the same thing," Cribb said. "You see a Division I player who gets after it. He's a very talented young man."

Last season, Bluffton's Ford made 45 tackles, including nine for a loss, and two sacks.

Cribb said having a player in the game is just as important for the program as it is for the player.

"It just represents your program and your community and what we do here and how hard we go," Cribb said. "Mike Grant (2011 S.C. Defensive MVP) was a 5-10, 180-pound guy that went up there and he was the most impressive player of the day. He represented his school, his team and his community very well."

Similarly, Payne said the selections of Poona Ford and Michael Julian over the past two seasons are a statement about where Hilton Head Island football is.

"We have expectations within our program. We said we wanted to change the culture, and we're starting to do that," Payne said. "If we can get our football program up to the level of where our other sports are, that'll be a real good day. I think that speaks to the work ethic of the players, the coaches and the administration."

The Sandlappers, with Julian at quarterback, won last year's contest 23-19 to take a 42-30-4 overall lead in the series.

77th Annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas

Who: N.C. Tarheels vs. S.C. Sandlappers

When: 1 p.m., Dec. 21, Gibbs Stadium, Spartanburg

Last year: S.C. won 23-19

Series history: S.C. leads 42-30-4

Area Shrine Bowl selections since 2000

2012: QB Michael Julian, Hilton Head Island

2011: WR Eric Boyles, Bluffton; LB Michael Grant, Bluffton; DL Wesley Scott, Ridgeland

2009: LB Justin Parker, Beaufort

2008: DB Jimmy Legree, Beaufort

2007: LB Brandon Mattis, Beaufort; LB Devin Taylor, Beaufort

2003: WR Tremel Kline, Battery Creek

2002: WR Eddie Cohen, Hilton Head Island

2001: LB Antonio Williams, Battery Creek

Related stories

Hilton Head QB Julian guides SC team to win in Shrine Bowl, Dec. 16, 2012

Hilton Head QB Julian hopes to end career with Shrine Bowl win, Dec. 15, 2012

Hilton Head's Julian vying for starting QB role in Shrine Bowl, Dec. 12, 2012

Hilton Head High QB Julian earns spot on Shrine Bowl roster, Oct. 11, 2012

Bluffton's Grant, Ridgeland's Scott named to Shrine Bowl, Oct. 13, 2011

Bluffton's Cribb selected to coach in 2011 Shrine Bowl, Feb. 10, 2011

Beaufort High LB Parker picked for Shrine Bowl, Oct. 30, 2009

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