Sandlappers Key On Turnovers For Win

In the minds of coaches and many observers attending the Shrine Bowl practices over the week, North Carolina had simply too much talent for the South Carolina Sandlappers to stay in the game on Saturday. However, the Sandlappers stuck to the basics – control the line of scrimmage, control the turnovers, and win in the second half.

.Thanks to two interceptions from J.C. Neal, a starting safety from Crestwood (S.C.) High, and two blocked punts, South Carolina defeated North Carolina 35-21 in a game that was not even that close.

"We knew what people were saying all week, and we wanted to come out here and show them," said running back Josh Miller.

South Carolina began the scoring after a drive started by a Derell Nichols blocked punt netted a forty yard field goal from place kicker Chris Tommie.

North Carolina took its first drive of the second quarter 61 yards on 12 plays capped by a Toney Baker run for three yards, giving North Carolina its first and only lead of the game heading into halftime.

After a fumble by North Carolina quarterback Jonathan Crompton (10-22-143) at the Tarheel 41 yard line, the momentum began to shift into the favor of the Sandlappers. Jordan Sorrells led his team to touchdown drives on five of its next six possessions.

However, it was the play of the defensive line and secondary that stole the show all day with two South Carolina interceptions off Joe Cox (10-22-89) and one off Crompton and little time for either to set up in the pocket. Neal, the game's most valuable player, said the credit for his two interceptions go to his teammates.

"They said (Cox) was staring down the receivers," Neal admitted. "I just watched his eyes and made the plays."

Neal's first interception he returned 71 yards to the North Carolina six-yard line. He followed that up on the next possession by intercepting the ball at the Tarheel 16 yard line helping his team set up touchdowns off both turnovers.

Derek Nicholson earned defensive MVP honors for the North Carolina team with seven tackles, including three for loss, on a defense that gave up just 227 total yards on the day. However, the turnovers and special teams plays made up the lost yardage as the Sandlapper offense had only one drive over forty yards in the game.

Crompton and wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, who finished with seven catches for 94 yards, keyed a late comeback effort for the Tarheels, which had the ball for over fourteen minutes in the fourth quarter.

Dawg Post Top Stories