For most, the 2017 South Carolina Mr. Football honor was a foregone conclusion.
Dakereon Joyner proved just about everybody right.
The Fort Dorchester quarterback added the award to his already impressive trophy case on Saturday during halftime of the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium, beating out four other top-flight standouts in the process.
“I’m very humbled to get this award,” Joyner said. “Some former legends had this award: Marcus Lattimore, Jadeveon Clowney, Stephon Gilmore. They all went to South Carolina. So I’m blessed to get this award.”
It was of no surprise that he listed former Gamecock standouts, as Joyner himself is a USC commitment and will enroll in January.
Joyner bested Spring Valley linebacker Channing Tindall, Newberry running back Amir Abrams, Chapman quarterback Colton Bailey and Spartanburg linebacker Connor Shugart, and his senior season was simply a bow on a statistically insane three-year career. This fall, he had 49 total touchdowns, 2,376 yards passing and another 980 rushing. His career totals (9,745 passing, 3,324 rushing, 157 total touchdowns) showed his consistency throughout. He was named the Palmetto Champions Back of the Year this fall and was also the South Carolina Gatorade player of the year as a junior.
The Patriots were 40-3 during his three years behind center and won the 2015 Class 4A state championship before finishing as a state semifinalist each of the past two seasons.
He is the first USC commitment to earn the honor since a string of fourth straight between 2008-2011, and he is the first Fort Dorchester player ever to do so.
Six Grand Strand players were selected for Saturday’s game.
The list included North Myrtle Beach’s Kered Class and Kwame Livingston, Carvers Bay’s Dijon Goss and Emmanuel Tatum, and offensive linemen Tommy Schubert (Carolina Forest) and Lucas Partin (Conway).
Tatum led the way with four tackles and two tackles for loss. Livingston had two tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss. Goss recorded a tackle and Class rushed six time for negative-10 yards.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY?
Whether it was an effort to give the selected players more touches or to take advantage of the final chance for some guys to see time on the field, the game had traditionally utilized 15-minute quarters for much of the recent past.
This year, given colder temperatures, game officials changed it to the normal 12-minute quarters used during the regular and postseasons in high school. The temperature at kickoff was in the low 40s, with feel-like temperatures in the low 30s.