High School Football

‘A huge opportunity’: Why the North-South experience is pivotal for some players

Christmas comes early for many Horry County students

High school football players who will participate in the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl this weekend took 44 students from area schools on a shopping spree at Target in Myrtle Beach on Thursday.
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High school football players who will participate in the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl this weekend took 44 students from area schools on a shopping spree at Target in Myrtle Beach on Thursday.

The participants in the 2018 Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl North-South All-Star Football Game have poured in blood, sweat and tears for their hometown football teams and many are experiencing their final gridiron contest on Saturday when they suit up at Brooks Stadium at Coastal Carolina University at noon.

While a large chunk of the participants have college offers or commitments in place, others like Myrtle Beach’s J.B. Favorite had to wait until this week to receive an offer – or have no offers at all.

“It’s definitely stressful to go through your senior season without knowing if you’ll be playing somewhere next year,” Favirote said. “I had some contact with a few schools, but I got my first offer from Limestone (College) earlier this week. Having an opportunity and a showcase like North-South was definitely a huge help to me.”

While the game is the big reward at the end of a busy week, the practices give players a few more opportunities to show out in front of college coaches against upper level competition.

“It means a lot to have all of these guys here coming together to play one more game in our career,” Favorite said. “Having a couple of practices where we can go against other really good players from all around the state is an incredible opportunity.”

While Socastee’s Kenney Solomon has had a list of schools that have offered him, he’s waiting until after his performance in the North-South All-Star game to make a decision, just in case another school comes calling.

“I want to count this game as my last high school game,” he said. “The next step will be college football, but I’m not ready to make that decision yet. This week has been a great opportunity for me to get back on the field and play football again (after Socastee’s season ended without a playoff berth). I’ve been working out with my trainer, but there’s nothing like getting back on the field.”

Solomon, an athlete for Socastee, is looking to make an impact on the next level as a defensive back and return specialist, where he can use his natural speed to make an impact on the game. His offer list includes schools like Central Florida, Marshall and Coastal Carolina – where the game will be played.

“It was great to see the stadium and to get on the field,” he said of practicing and playing at Brooks Stadium this week. “It’s awesome and it seems like it will be a nice atmosphere and place to play on Saturday. I can’t wait to be out on the field competing against the North.”

For other players, like Carvers Bay’s Janaz Sumpter and countless others on the North and South rosters, the game feels like a final showcase before they begin to narrow down college decisions.

“This is a huge opportunity for so many guys in this game,” Sumpter said. “We are able to get out and play against really good players in a competitive game and ball out one last time in high school. That’s all I’ve wanted since our season ended.”

The 2018 Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl North-South All-Star Football Game will take place at Brooks Stadium on the campus of Coastal Carolina University on Saturday at noon.

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