Loris hasn’t exactly been a hotbed of all-star football selections in the past two decades.
Quavon Bellamy has helped change that.
The Lions’ linebacker was one of three Grand Strand football players selected to play in the 2013 Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl North vs. South game Wednesday. He’ll be joined by Conway receiver Ikeem Coles and Georgetown linebacker Jordan Ward for the Dec. 14 game, which will be played at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in Myrtle Beach. Conway assistant coach Steve Hall will serve as an assistant for the South squad.
The 66th annual event, formerly known as the North-South All-Star Football game, matches 44 of the state’s best seniors from Lower State teams against their counterparts from Upper State programs.
Unlike his counterparts from those two bigger schools, Bellamy is the first Loris player named to one of the state’s two all-star games since 2007. The senior is one of the centerpieces of a Lions’ defense that has allowed only 10.8 points per game, second in all of Class AA.
“There are not a lot of guys from Loris who make it to that game,” Bellamy said. “I wouldn’t say I’m the best guy. But I feel like I’m being honored.”
Bellamy joins what has been a small number of Loris players picked over the years. Jonathan “Tig” Willard (2007) was the last Lion selected. Cordell Kelly was picked in 1991 and was also one of the four MVPs that year.
This season, Bellamy has already amassed 117 total tackles, including six for loss. As a junior, he had 121 stops, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He was named to The Sun News’ Toast of the Coast defensive team in 2012.
Like Bellamy, Ward was also a standout in each of the past two seasons. And despite missing two games to injury and being hobbled in several more, the guy Georgetown coach Bradley Adams has repeatedly called the team’s best player has continued to make an impact this fall.
Ward has recorded 60 tackles and has also rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown in spot duty on offense.
“After competing in the Shrine Bowl combine, I wanted to have a good enough year to go to the North-South game,” Ward said. “…Last year, I went to the game and I watched them practice. Just being able to compete against kids from across the state. ... I want to see where I line up against the best players.”
Coles’ selection was a rarity in that he played little offense as a junior. That hasn’t stopped him from performing in a new role. Through nine games, Coles was second on the team and sixth on the Grand Strand in receiving yards (471). His 42 receptions have also produced four touchdowns, and he has three receptions of 60-plus yards with two games to go in the regular season.
“When [Hall] mentioned it to me before Friday, I was surprised,” Coles said. “This was my first year at this position.
“I had always wanted to play receiver, but I never got the chance.”
Coles, Ward and Bellamy join Socastee quarterback Hunter Renfrow and Carvers Bay defensive tackle Naquez Pringle on all-star rosters. Those two were selected to play in this year’s Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas earlier this month.
The format of the North-South week will change slightly in that the 2013 Mr. Football award will be presented at halftime of the game. In years past, the honor was given out during a ceremony the night before the game.
The finalists for this year’s award all come from outside the Grand Strand.