Strong defensive play struck a chord early and often in the North’s 21-14 victory in the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives North-South All-Star Football Game on Saturday.
The game, held at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium, saw two strong squads made up of some of South Carolina’s best players battle for bragging rights in their last games as high school football players. On a third down for the South on its first possession, North defensive lineman and Tennessee commit Tre Lawson broke through the offensive line to bring down Beaufort’s Omar Cummings behind the line of scrimmage. The play set the tone for the North squad.
The North turned its next offensive drive into seven points as quarterback Brett Burnett hit Malik Williams for a 26-yard touchdown. The North defense continued to feed its offense throughout, forcing five turnovers.
“Our defense played outstanding today,” said North coach Jimmy Neal of Camden. “We saw them all week in practice do the things they did on the field during this game.They came out with a focus and intensity about them that was great to see.”
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The North added another score in the first quarter, a 56-yard bomb from Devin Beckley to Cedric Smith, before the South responded. Conway’s Peyton Derrick, an Appalachian State commit, found his backup quarterback in Tyrece Nick for an 11-yard touchdown.
“We committed five turnovers. I don’t care what level of football you’re playing — you won’t win if you turn it over five times,” said South coach Reggie Kennedy (Irmo). “Our defense kept us in it all day. We wanted to give the fans their money’s worth there at the end, but they (the North) made one more play than us down the stretch.”
In the second half, an interception on the first drive led to a short field for the North and Ant Foster found the end zone from seven yards out. Derrick’s pass was intercepted by North defensive MVP Akyah Miranda, who had three interceptions in the contest.
The offensive MVP for the North was Smith (Richland Northeast), who had 112 receiving yards on the day. The South MVPs were Kaytron Allen (Woodland) on defense and Jalen Barr (Lake City) on offense.