MYRTLE BEACH -- The South team was sick of being on the losing end of the SCADA North-South All-Star Football game.
From July on, coach James Waring said his assistants and coaches did everything to make sure a four-game skid in the series ended Saturday. All involved from the Lower State's side of the all-star event did just that.
The South won 23-0, getting one of the strongest defensive efforts in recent memory and taking a North offense with plenty of college talent out of the equation throughout.
But this wasn't just about executing on one December afternoon at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium. It was about the coaching staff, particularly Hartsville coach and South defensive assistant Jeff Calabrese crafting a group of players who could make an immediate impact.
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"What Coach Calabrese did was he went out and got a lot of guys in the Pee Dee area that he had seen play. They knew each other," Waring said following the victory and a bath from a Gatorade jug. "When they came together, a lot of these kids were from the same area; they've played each other before. It wasn't like it was a brand new set of guys. It was almost like the team was intact from the beginning."
The defensive shutout closed the North's advantage in the all-team series to 36-26-2. It also helped erase some of the sting from last year's 42-3 North victory. That score marked the second-largest margin of victory in the first 63 games.
It was clear early in the 64th annual game that the North team wasn't going to have the type of offensive production from last season. The South defense frustrated North quarterbacks Kylen Binn (Blythewood), Trey Robinson (Dorman) and Devin Pearson (South Pointe).
It mattered little that South quarterbacks C.J. Frazier (Bluffton) and Anthony Smalls (Hanahan) combined for three first-half interceptions. While the South offense finally got on track with some big plays, including a pair of second-half touchdowns from Fort Dorchester's Daitwan Commodore, the North failed to finish its most successful drives.
"From what I saw, it looked like we out-worked everybody," South defensive MVP Darius Leonard said after recording nine tackles and combining for a safety. "They were tired, and we were still in shape. We had another level we played on. We took that next step and played as big boys."
They also overcame a system that was designed to create more offense. Defenses were required to use four-linemen sets and weren't allowed to blitz; offensive sets were all but required to go out of a spread that eliminated many rushing options.
"This is an all-star game, and it's designed for offensive teams. We can't blitz," Myrtle Beach linebacker Octavius Thomas said. "For them not to score a lot of points, a shutout, whew. All week, since we got here, the escorts talked about how they lost to the North four times in a row and they can't stand it. They had to take the heat for those kids."
The South offense rushed for 245 yards, but it was a quiet day for the three Beaufort County stars: Frazier, Marquis Webber and Dee Delaney.
Frazier finished 7 of 17 passing for 72 yards and three interceptions. Whale Branch's Delaney was the South's leading receiver, but he had just three catches for 33 yards. Bluffton's Webber was second on the team with 26 receiving yards on two catches.
North-South All-Star Game
Saturday, at Myrtle Beach
North 0 0 0 0 -- 0
South 0 0 16 7 -- 23
S-Jerod Tucker 78 run (Max Huggins kick)
S-Daitwan Commodore 3 run (Huggins kick)
S-Commodore 12 run (Huggins kick)
RUSHING--North: Kylen Binn 9-14, Nicholas Sims-Metts 3-0, Trey Robinson 8-(-14), Devin Pearson 10-3, Levi Bufford 3-(-)2, Osharmar Abercrombie 2-0. South: Anthony Smalls 8-52, Daitwan Commodore 12-61, C.J. Frazier 4-9, Noah Shuler 11-48, Jerod Tucker 3-75, DeAndrew Schoultz 1-0.
PASSING--North: Binn 7-20-1, 0, 90; Robinson 4-6-0, 0, 38; Pearson 5-10-1, 0, 56. South: Frazier 7-17-3, 0, 72; Smalls 4-7-1, 0, 26.
RECEIVING--North: Tovaris Cureton 3-58, Ty Garrett 3-54, Dorian Raines 2-16, Jaleel Scott 2-14, Bufford 2-10, Hakim Frazier 2-7, Abercrombie 1-14, T. Robinson 1-11. South: Jordan Berry 3-20, Dee Delaney 3-33, Rudder Brown 2-12, Noah Shuler 1-7, Marquis Webber 2-26.
MVPs--North: Offensive, Tovaris Cureton; Defensive, Simeon Byrd. South: Offensive, Daitwan Commodore. Defensive, Darius Leonard.