South Carolina recruited Bryce Thompson as a defensive back, but the Dutch Fork senior put his offensive skills on display Saturday.
Thompson caught seven passes for 165 yards and one touchdown to earn Most Outstanding Player honors for the South Carolina team in the 55-24 loss to North Carolina.
“It doesn’t matter where they need me at South Carolina,” Thompson said. “I will give 100 percent to play no matter what. If they need me on offense in the beginning or midseason, that is fine with me. But if they want me on defense, that is also fine with me.”
Thompson found himself wide open early in the game and had two big plays to keep South Carolina in it. He had a 64-yard catch to set up the Sandlappers’ first scoring drive and then caught a 40-yard pass from Wake Forest commit Sam Hartman to pull S.C. within 14-12 late in the first quarter.
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Saturday’s performance capped a month to remember for the two-way standout. Thompson helped Dutch Fork win its second consecutive state title two weeks ago. On Wednesday, he committed to play at South Carolina.
“This day was about having fun. Obviously, we got blown out, but we had fun,” Thompson said. “I got to play with the best players in the state and make new relationships and friendships. That was the whole goal of this.”
Outside of Thompson and Oceanside quarterback Sam Hartman, who threw for 218 yards and two TDs and was team’s Offensive MVP, it was a rough day for the Sandlappers in losing their third straight game to the Tarheels.
It is N.C.’s first three-game winning streak since 1949-51 and the second time in three years it has scored more than 50 points in a game. It was also the largest margin of victory in the game since a 38-6 win in 1977.
N.C. outgained S.C. 478-366 and shined on special teams. Dyani Brown returned a kickoff 92 yards for a score, and the Tarheels also blocked a punt. S.C. also missed three extra points.
“They really whooped us up front. They were bigger than us up front, and that is something we worried about all week,” S.C. head coach Dave Gutshall said. “It was a bad day.”
East Carolina commit Holton Ahlers was 11-of-18 for 156 yards and two touchdowns to earn N.C.’s Most Outstanding Player award. He also ran for 32 yards and a TD, an 11-yard run putting N.C. up 14-6.
North Carolina State commit Ricky Person earned Offensive MVP honors for the Tarheels. He ran for 180 yards and two touchdowns and also caught two passes for 23 yards and a TD.
Dax Hollifield was NC’s MVP on defense.
HOW THEY SCORED
NC – Carter 20 pass from Ahlers (Dunn kick), 9:49
SC – Joyner 5 run (kick failed), 7:01
NC – Ahlers 11 run (Dunn kick), 4:05
SC – Thompson 40 pass from Hartman (pass failed), 1:16
NC – D. Brown 92 kickoff return (Dunn kick), 1:03
NC – S. Brown 1 run (Dun kick), 13:41
NC – Person 52 run (Dunn kick), 14:19
SC – Kendrick 52 pass from Hartman (kick failed)
SC – Pearson 36 interception return (kick failed), 7:42
NC – Person 14 pass from Ahlers (Dun kick), 13:06
NC – Curry 4 run (Dunn kick), 5:17
NC – Person 72 run, :00
RUSHING: NC Tarheels-Ricky Person, Jr. 15-180; Javonte Williams 12-90; Holton
Ahlers 12-32; Dyami Brown 1-12; Joseph Curry 1-4; Stephon Brown 3-minus 15. SC
Sandlappers-Derion Kendrick 5-45; Cameron Rice 5-35; Dakereon Joyner 3-14;
Mataeo Durant 4-13; Samuel Hartman 4-minus 28.
PASSING: NC Tarheels-Holton Ahlers 11-18-1-156; Stephon Brown 1-3-0-5; Ricky
Person, Jr. 1-1-0-14. SC Sandlappers-Samuel Hartman 13-25-1-218; Dakereon Joyner
RECEIVING: NC Tarheels-Ricky Person, Jr. 3-23; Javonte Williams 2-37; Devin
Carter 2-30; Dyami Brown 2-24; Blake Whiteheart 1-38; Jordyn Adams 1-10;
Christopher Dunn 1-8; Bryce Wheaton 1-5. SC Sandlappers-Bryce Thompson 7-165;
Derion Kendrick 3-60; Samuel Pinckney 2-43; Cameron Rice 2-6; Mataeo Durant
HOW MIDLANDS PLAYERS FARED IN THE SHRINE BOWL
Alec Blackmon (Newberry) – Played center
Wyatt Campbell (Lugoff-Elgin) – Injured, didn’t play
Damion Daley (Ridge View) – 2 tackles
Trajan Jeffcoat (Irmo) – 4 tackles, TFL, ½ sack
Hank Manos (Chapin) – Started and played center
Bryce Thompson (Dutch Fork) – Had 7 catches for 165 yards, TD and one kickoff return for 14 yards
Channing Tindall (Spring Valley) – Injured, didn’t play