Heading into their senior seasons, Dutch Fork’s Bryce Thompson and Newberry’s Amir Abrams both had something to prove.
For Thompson, there were questions on how he would fare against tougher competition after transferring from Ben Lippen, which competes in SCISA, to Class 5A Dutch Fork.
In Abrams’ situation, he wanted to prove his junior season that featured more than 2,000 yards rushing was not a fluke.
Both players answered the questions by putting up huge years and were named The State’s Midlands Co-Offensive Players of the Year.
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“I heard people said, ‘Well it was SCISA, let’s see how he goes and does it against 5A schools,’ ” Thompson said. “So it definitely was motivation.”
Thompson did a bit of everything this season in helping the Silver Foxes to their second straight state championship. He started the season at receiver before moving to running back when starter Ron Hoff was injured.
The South Carolina commit also played more on defense in the secondary as the season went along. Thompson, who scored the game-winning touchdowns in the state title game against Dorman, finished with 2,273 all-purpose yards and led the Midlands with 38 touchdowns.
Thompson also was named the Most Outstanding Player for the South Carolina team in the Shrine Bowl all-star game.
“It was the perfect way to go out, and I was fortunate to be surrounded with great players and coaches,” Thompson said. “We were all working together and weren’t going to be denied.”
Abrams finished his career as the most decorated running back in Newberry history. He set numerous school records, including most rushing yards in a career with 6,140. The senior also became the first running back in the state since Lake City’s Shon Carson to finish his career with 100 touchdowns.
Abrams went over the 2,000-yard mark for the second straight season and ran for 2,119 yards and 38 touchdowns this year in helping the Bulldogs to the second round of the playoffs. He was chosen for the North-South game and was a finalist for South Carolina’s Mr. Football.
“I just tried to make my team proud so we can all succeed,” Abrams said. “It wasn’t just me running the ball. It was my offensive line and coaches believing me that I can do the job.”
Newberry coach Phil Strickland said Abrams will hard to replace next season.
“I wouldn’t trade him for anybody. He is a special, special player,” Strickland said. “It is going to be different next season not having him back there for us.”