Two participate in Shrine Bowl

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 18, 2006

SPARTANBURG, SC – The tradition continues.

For the third time in the 18-year history of Hertford County High School, a member of the Bears football team received an invitation to participate in the 70th annual Shrine Bowl game of the Carolinas.

For the third time with a Bear on their roster, the North Carolina team tasted victory.

HCHS senior defensive tackle Tydreke Powell was a starter for the Tar Heel squad and made his presence known as North Carolina rallied for a pair of fourth quarter scores to collect a 23-16 win over South Carolina here Saturday.

The win was the second straight and the fourth in the last five games for the Tar Heel team versus their South Carolina rivals.

“It feels real good to bring it back for North Carolina,” Powell said. “It also felt good to see all the fans, especially the ones from back home. Now I’m going back home and focus on my college choices.”

Powell, a 6’-3”, 295 pounder with 4.9 speed in the 40, had already attracted a lot of interest from major colleges prior to the Shrine Bowl. To date, North Carolina, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech and NC State have all pitched scholarship offers. Powell said he has basically narrowed his list to UNC, Penn State and Virginia Tech. He has scheduled official visits to each of those three schools next month.

The level of competition he faced at the Shrine Bowl will help him prepare for the next level.

“I know I’ve got to get better handling double teams,” Powell noted. “I’m use to overpowering people at the high school level, but down here everyone was an all-star.”

But Powell’s “star” was just as bright.

On South Carolina’s second offensive series, the Sandlappers mounted a 10 play drive to NC’s 11 yardline. There, on a third-and-8 play, Powell teamed with Kwamaine Battle of Southern Nash High School (a Virginia Tech recruit) to drop SC All-State quarterback Willy Korn for a two-yard loss. That hit stopped the drive and the Sandlappers had to settle for Nick Kinney’s 30-yard field goal that staked the home team to an early 3-0 lead.

Korn, of Byrnes High in Duncan, S.C. who has verbally committed to Clemson University, was very outspoken about his team’s chances leading up to kick-off of Saturday’s game at Gibbs Stadium at Wofford College in Spartanburg.

“I got in a couple of licks on him, but it wasn’t nothing personal,” said Powell who finished with three tackles. I just wanted to know how it felt to hit a player of his caliber. He’s a great quarterback.”

That 3-0 score stood until inside the five-minute mark of the second quarter. From there, NC scored twice and the Sandlappers once before halftime.

The Tar Heels got on the board at the 4:49 mark and it was the defense that recorded the points as Melvin Ingram of Richmond Senior High scooped-up a Korn fumble and dashed nine yards untouched to the endzone. Jay Wooten (Scotland Co. High) tacked on the PAT to stake NC to a 7-3 lead.

After forcing a three-and-out, South Carolina got the ball back at their own 25 yardline. It took only two plays to score as quarterback Matt Lentz (Greenville, SC High) tossed a 40-yard TD strike to Markish Jones (Broome High). The PAT kick failed, but SC reclaimed the lead at 9-7.

That lead didn’t last long.

On the Tar Heels next series, two recent state champions connected to give NC a 13-9 halftime lead as quarterback Scott Riddle of Eastern Randolph zipped a pass to a wide-open Dwight Jones Jr. of Burlington Cummings. The end result was a 63-yard scoring aerial followed by a failed two-point conversion attempt.

South Carolina’s defense accounted for the lone third quarter score as linebacker Stanley Hunter (Byrnes High) scooped-up a Riddle fumble and raced 66 yards to paydirt. Brandon Berry (Blackville-Hilda High) tacked on the PAT.

NC’s defense answered later in the third quarter when Bunn High School linebacker and Notre Dame recruit Kerry Neal recovered Korn’s fumble at the SC 17 yardline. Three plays later (on the first snap of the fourth quarter), Jonathan Williams of state champion Greenville Rose scored from nine yards out. Coupled with Wooten’s kick, the Tar Heels had the lead for-keeps at 20-16.

Williams, who rushed for a game-high 107 yards, was named as the MVP.

NC outgained SC in total offense, 262-181. Defensively, the Tar Heels limited SC to a mere 19 net rushing yards and forced a half-dozen turnovers.

Powell made sure that lead stood firm when, on South Carolina’s next series, he beat the double team and put a hard rush on Korn, forcing him to throw earlier than he wanted and the pass was picked-off by Justin Byers of Southern Vance High.

“I thought I played pretty good,” Powell said. “I just played my position.”

That “position” turned out to be left tackle, right tackle and nose guard. On one series, he played at two of those three positions.

“Yea, they moved me around, but that was fun,” he said. “This just helps me to prepare even more for the next level. I know they’ll move me around in college.”

Powell had kind words for his teammates, saying what great fun they had during the week.

“I made a lot of friends this week,” Powell noted. “There were a lot of great guys.”

The week was a whirlwind of activity, including numerous practice sessions, visits to local sites and a “Fan Fest” on Friday. But the one thing that touched Powell’s huge heart was the team’s visit to the Shriner’s Hospital for Children in nearby Greenville, SC.

“Visiting the hospital really touched me; seeing all those children,” Powell said.

Saturday’s event, which included a huge parade in downtown Spartanburg, raised over $1 million in support of the Shriner’s network of hospitals, 22 in all.

Powell becomes the third HCHS player and the ninth from a high school based in Ahoskie to play in the Shrine Bowl. His HCHS predecessors were Wendell Chavis (2002; a 28-0 win by NC) and Devon Smith (1993; a game won 9-0 by the Tar Heels).

Past representatives from the old Ahoskie High School were Johnny Murray (1978), Bruce Edward Lancaster (1974), Bennett Wayne Williams (1960), Richard Odom (1954), Dickie Newsome (1953) and Chet Rogerson (1952).

Also invited to participate in Saturday’s 70th annual Shrine Bowl was Desmond Roberts of Northampton-West. The 6’-5”, 285-pound offensive lineman played in three series at center for the Tar Heels.

Paul Hoggard, a native of Bertie County and a Bertie High grad, served as the Offensive Coordinator for this year’s North Carolina team. Hoggard is a longtime assistant coach at Richmond Senior High.