The South team was sick of being on the losing end of the SCADA North-South All-Star Football game.
Since July, 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.
The defensive shutout in the 64th annual game at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium closed the North’s advantage in the series to 36-26-2. It also helped erase some sting from last year’s 42-3 North victory.
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 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.”
Mostly, the South overcame a system that was designed to create 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.”