High School Football

‘You get to play the best of the best’: Stars of tomorrow to clash in Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach running back Kered Class (4) finds a hole to run through the St. James defense during a game this past season.
North Myrtle Beach running back Kered Class (4) finds a hole to run through the St. James defense during a game this past season. For The Sun News


1. North Myrtle Beach RB Kered Class: Sidelined by a hamstring injury in his team’s season finale against Berkeley, the Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher is back for the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives North-South Bowl.

This past season, he rushed for 1,464 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was the first player in North Myrtle Beach history to rush for 3,000 yards in his career.

“I appreciate the honor, it feels great being out here with these people,” Class said. “Everybody here is a star, but I believe everybody here is human as well. We’re all people … we can work together and we’re all family here.”

2. Carvers Bay DB DiJon Goss: The 6-foot-5 defensive back had three interceptions this past season, along with 44 tackles.

“It’s a great honor, he said. “I love representing my family, my community … I just love it.”

3. North Myrtle Beach DL Kwame Livingston: For the past two years, coaches tried to figure out exactly how to block the North Myrtle Beach defensive end.

Whatever schemes they sought to employ his senior season didn’t work, as Livingston made more than 100 tackles and 13 sacks.

“Being a part of this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” he said. “A lot of people don’t get this opportunity. … It’s an honor to create a legacy (at North Myrtle Beach), it gives (future teams) big shoes to fill, but I have full belief that they will.”

Livingston and teammate Kered Class were part of a Chiefs squad that set a program record for wins (12).

4. Conway OL Lucas Partin: Everyday tasks haven’t been as easy with a cast on his left arm, one he has sported since the start of the season.

Yet, a simple saying by longtime Conway head coach Chuck Jordan has kept him going.

“F.I.D.O. … it stands for ‘Forget it, and drive on,’ ” Partin said. “(Jordan) taught me so much, being a man among those. I owe so much to him, (offensive line coach Will Bratcher and interim head coach Carlton Terry) for all they’ve done for me while at Conway.”

Partin is one of three Conway offensive linemen playing in all-star games, joining Gunner Britton and Raiqwon O’Neal – each of whom will play in next week’s Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

5. Carolina Forest OL Tommy Schubert: Walking in for his first team meeting, the Carolina Forest standout admitted he was taken back a bit by the size of his fellow offensive linemen on the South team.

“It’s pretty fun and pretty intimidating, because I’m the shortest offensive lineman here,” he said. “But you know, I’m having some fun, knocking heads … can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.”

It is the second year in a row that a Carolina Forest offensive lineman was selected to play in the North-South game. Antwine Loper played in the all-star tilt a season ago.

6. Carvers Bay DL Emmanuel Tatum: He doesn’t always get the credit, but coaches recognize Tatum’s ability to disrupt an opposing offense’s game plan.

This past season, he had nearly 60 tackles and six sacks.

“You play in high school football and everyone tells you how good you are,” Tatum said. “But when you get to an all-star game, and actually get the chance to play? It’s surreal … not everyone gets to play in a bowl game or something like that. You get to play the best of the best.”

Newberry running back Amir Abrams (22) finds room to run this past season against Fairfield Central. Jeff Blake jblake@thestate.com


7. Chapman RB D.J. Twitty and Newberry RB Amir Abrams: These two are paired together not just because they are North team running backs. Twitty and Abrams share a friendship based largely on a mutual drive to be the best.

“It started last year when we first played them in the regular season,” Abrams said. “(Twitty) came over to me and told me ‘Good job.’ After that we started going to camps together, started seeing him and started communicating.”

Both players rushed for more than 5,000 yards in their respective careers.

“That (5,000-yard plateau) was something we both were going after, but (Abrams) got it first,” Twitty said. “We both hit it up by the time we played each other (in October).”

Abrams is among the five finalists for this year’s Mr. Football award. Yet, there’s something Twitty has that Abrams so desperately wanted – a Class 3A state championship, which Chapman earned in 2016.

8. South Pointe WR Steven Gilmore: His brother, Stephon, plays in the NFL, but that isn’t the reason you should know Steven Gilmore.

The top receiver on a loaded Stallions offense, he caught 37 passes for 685 yards and 11 touchdowns. More importantly, he helped South Pointe to four straight state championships and a top 10 spot in national rankings.

“It means a lot (to be selected for the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives North-South Bowl), and shows hard work pays off,” he said.

9. Lamar LB Jeblonski Green: While his toughness rushing between the tackles was quite an asset for the hometown Lamar Silver Foxes, Green will showcase his talents most at linebacker in this game.

It doesn’t seem to bother him much, though, merely thankful for the opportunity to be considered among the state’s elite gridiron talents.

“A lot of exciting moments for the seniors, that’s what I’m expecting,” he said. “For a lot of the guys out here, (Saturday) could be their last game. So you just have to leave it out there on the field.”

10. Baptist Hill QB Corey Fields: Before he arrived in Myrtle Beach, Fields’ legend had already been established among those at the 2017 North-South Bowl.

“That young man can play some football,” said one coach visiting practice during the course of the week.

Once among the state’s best kept secrets, he emerged as a true force in Class A this past gridiron campaign. He accounted for 4,165 passing yards and 56 touchdowns, while using his legs for nearly 900 more yards and nine scores.

“My parents were from Baptist Hill too, so to be able to represent the same place they did, it was truly an honor,” he said. “The season still hasn’t fully sunk in because it is so soon. But I’m just happy to be here with some of the best players from our side of the state.”

11. Marlboro County OL Noah Henderson: His 6-foot-5, 288-pound frame is the first thing one notices about the Marlboro County offensive lineman.

However, coaches believe Henderson’s best attribute is his potential.

Prior to transferring to the Bennettsville-based school, he did not play football. As he continues to gain experience, the belief is he can mature into a dominant force in the trenches.

Joe L. Hughes II: 843-444-1702, @JoeLHughesII

Touchstone Energy Cooperatives North-South Bowl

When: Saturday, Dec. 9

Where: Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium, Myrtle Beach

Time: Pre-game activities begin at 11:30 a.m. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m.

Halftime festivities: The 2017 Mr. Football award will be given to one five finalists, among them: Newberry RB Amir Abrams, Chapman QB Colton Bailey, Fort Dorchester QB Dakereon Joyner, Spartanburg LB Connor Shugart and Spring Valley LB Channing Tindall.