TIGERVILLE The two principals in the biggest play of Saturday’s South Carolina College All-Star Bowl both went to Newberry College but never played for the Wolves at the same time.
Quarterback Brian Ehrlich and receiver Jameze Massey hooked up on a 60-yard touchdown pass play to open the fourth quarter as the Upstate team beat the Lowcountry 23-10 as a few thousand fans watched at North Greenville’s Younts Stadium.
Ehrlich played as a graduate student at Texas A&M Kingsville in 2012 after completing his career at Newberry a year earlier. Massey started at Newberry, then transferred to Winston-Salem State and helped the Rams reach the NCAA Division II final.
“We called all streaks, I think, and I just outran the corner,” Massey said of his only catch.
The teams consisted primarily of players with South Carolina ties as high school or college players. Game officials want the event to provide pro scouts one more look at players under game conditions.
“I really needed this (game),” Massey said. “Being 5-foot-7 and playing at a D-2 school, I needed to be out here playing against some guys who were Division I.”
“We had it drawn up,” Ehrlich said. “We knew they were going to be in the Cover 2, and all I had to do was out-throw the safety.”
Ehrlich, at 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, also hopes to get a chance to play at the next level.
“I’ve got an agent who’s been hitting it hard,” Ehrlich said. “He said keep playing the way I am and, hopefully, I’ll get a chance. I love football; I love every second of it. It’s the funnest sport I’ve ever played in my life and every second I’m on the field is going to be played at full speed.”
He completed 5 of 13 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Ehrlich’s first scoring pass covered 2 yards to Western Carolina’s Jacoby Mitchell on the game’s first possession.
Former South Carolina quarterback Seth Strickland was named the game’s most outstanding offensive player. He completed 11 of 14 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown. His last pass, though, was intercepted by former Furman player Ricky Lang and returned 22 yards for a game-clinching touchdown with 2:39 left.
“It was a play we put in at halftime,” Lang said. “I just dropped and he threw it right to me, so I had to score with it.
“This was great,” Lang said. “My senior year didn’t end too well, but this definitely would be a great way to cap off my football career if this does it.”
“I went over and told coach (Upstate assistant Brian) Dawkins they put an extra wrinkle in on me. They dropped the end out,” Strickland said. “But, it was all in fun. He’s a great guy.”
The game started better for Strickland. He completed 4 of 5 passes for 62 yards on the Lowcountry’s opening drive. Former Richland Northeast star Gee Greene of Navy ran in the final 6 yards with 4:23 left in the first quarter.
Strickland, who saw most of his action as holder on conversion kicks during his USC career, said he enjoyed the opportunity to play one more time even if it doesn’t lead to a professional offer.
“Certainly, my phone would be on if (the pros) were calling, but we’ll see how that goes,” Strickland said. “But it was exciting to get to play and throw in live action again.”
Patrick Morgano from Presbyterian gave the Upstate a 10-7 lead with a 25-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter. The drive was set up by a fumble recovery by Rafael Cuellar of Tiffin.
There was no further scoring until the Ehrlich-Massey hookup.
North Greenville linebacker A.J. Jones was named most outstanding defensive player. He caused a fumble and disrupted several Lowcountry offensive plays.
Proceeds from the game went to Meals on Wheels.
At halftime, the inaugural class of inductees into the South Carolina football Hall of Fame was honored. The class consists of Harry Carson (S.C. State), Danny Ford (Clemson), Frank Howard (Clemson), Willie Jeffries (S.C. State), Banks McFadden (Clemson), George Rogers (South Carolina), Donnie Shell (S.C. State) and Sam Wyche (Furman).
UP—Jacoby Mitchell 2 pass from Brian Ehrlich (Patrick Morgano kick), 10:06.
LOW—Gee Gee Greene 6 run (Ryan Fowler kick), 4:23.
UP—FG Morgano 25, 14:57
UP—Jameze Massey 60 pass from Ehrlich (Morgan kick), 14:52
LOW—FG Fowler 33, 10:16
UP-Ricky Lang 22 interception return (kick failed), 2:39.
RUSHING: Lowcountry – Goforth 7-25, Elmore 1-5, Greene 9-4, Merrill 1-2, Wiley 4-(-3), Derrick 1-(-3), Strickland 3-(-16). Upstate – Byrd 13-48, Webb 1-10, Harris 6-5, Ehrlich 2-(-10).
PASSING: Lowcountry – Strickland 11-14-1 97, Derrick 6-11-1 52, Wiley 4—5-0 14; Upstate – Ehrlich 5-13-0 118, Richt 2-7-1 23.
RECEIVING: Lowcountry – Watts 4-56, Greene 5-25, Wesley 3-19, Elmore 2-47, Brannon 1-3, Presley 1-3, Duncan 1-1, Merrill 1-(-4). Upstate – Stephens 3-53, Massey 1-60, Simmons 1-16, Bodenheimer 1-10, Mitchell 1-2.