Jack Davidson’s touchdown pass to Thomas Hennigan with 20 seconds left helped North Carolina beat South Carolina 17-10 in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.
The winning score was set up by a pass interference call on South Carolina that gave North Carolina a first down at the South Carolina 18.
“We were trying to go up top on them all day because they were showing us some man coverage,” Hennigan said. “I just happened to catch them off guard. It was a perfect throw, and I just happened to catch it when it meant the most.”
Hennigan, an Appalachian State commit, led North Carolina with six catches for 66 yards and the game-winning score. Larry Roundtree paced the Tarheels’ ground game with a game-high 87 yards on 17 carries.
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South Carolina led for the first 45 minutes.
Davidson, of Myers Park High School, connected with Darius Pinnix (Western Alamance) on a 7-yard touchdown pass to giving the Tarheels new life at 10-10 with 14:45 to play. Davidson finished with 174 yards and two touchdowns on 16-of-30 passing.
The Sandlappers led 10-0 behind a pair of first-quarter scores.
Kicker Henis Dawson (River Bluff) started the scoring with a 33-yard field goal early in the opening quarter after the South Carolina defense forced a fumble on the game’s opening drive and took over at the Tarheels 13.
South Carolina commmit Shiyun Smith (Union County) followed with a 43-yard touchdown catch from Jackson Williamson (Westside-Anderson) in the first quarter. Smith finished with five catches for 96 yards, both team highs.
But South Carolina was unable to muster much offense after the first quarter. The Tarheels outgained South Carolina 314-197 in total yards.
Despite out-gaining the Sandlappers by more than 100 yards in total offense, North Carolina struggled to find the end zone until the fourth quarter due in part to 11 penalties for 101 yards. South Carolina was flagged seven times for 70 yards.
South Carolina coach Phil Strickland (Newberry), who was unhappy about the pass-interference penalty that led to pivotal score, said he really didn’t expect a defensive struggle given the offensive talent on both squads.
“I thought both teams had enough offensive weapons to make more of a game out of it,” Strickland said. “It just goes to show you how good the defensive kids were in this year’s game.”
Williamson, who earned offensive player of the game honors for the Sandlappers, connected on 12 of 20 passes for 109 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran for 41 yards on three carries.