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No day at the beach

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McMurray-led North handles elements, South in 23-6 all-star win

By Robert Howey

 

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MYRTLE BEACH – Sunshine was lacking on a cold, rainy afternoon, but Lancaster High School head football coach Bennie McMurray had plenty on the weather-wise yucky day.

McMurray, one of three LHS Bruins football representatives in the 63rd annul North-South All-Star football game, was “walking on sunshine” Saturday afternoon as he led the North to a 23-6 win over the South in the  elite game at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium.

McMurray beamed as he talked about his team’s solid 17-point victory over the South stars.

The North bolted to a 16-0 win and cruised to the North’s 10th win in 13 years for a 36-25-2 lead in the series.

“It’s been a great week,” said McMurray, who with the win improved to 6-0-1 as a all-star coach in prep football and baseball games in the Carolinas. “We had to overcome a lot this week with the weather, colder than usual and it was brutal at times, and our guys learning a new system in a week’s time.

“I’m real proud of these players. It was the same for both teams, but I felt we adapted and made plays today.

“This is their last high school game, one they will always remember and they went out with a dominating win in a game for statewide recognition. To me, that says a lot.”

McMurray shared the spotlight with a pair of participants from the LHS football program – Bruins’ defensive coordinator Ricky Brown and defensive lineman Daniel Foster.

“Coach Brown did a good job,” McMurray said of Brown, who served as a North scout and help assemble a game plan after watching the South stars in practice during the week.

“I know more about the South team than our own team,” said Brown as a big smile broke across his face.

“You look at the effort our defense had today and you know coach Brown played a major role in your preparation,” McMurray said. “You play like you practice. We gave up only one score and we had a defensive score. We also gave up just over 100 yards total offense, so our defense was in control.”

Spartanburg High School’s Daquan Brown’s 39-yard interception in the second period staked the North to a 16-0 halftime lead. Brown, who also had three solo tackles, was named the North Defensive MVP.

“Coach Brown is a longtime coach and he deserved to be here,” McMurray said. “It was an honor to be in this game and to get a win is icing on the cake. I’m thrilled for coach Brown because it’s a rare chance to get in this game and he made the most of the situation. He didn’t rest on the honor, he enhanced it.”

Brown tipped his cap to Foster, who had four total tackles, including two solo tackles, to go with a nine-yard sack and a fumble recovery.

Foster’s fumble recovery at the South 15 set up the North’s final touchdown.

“I thought about picking it up, but I thought better of it,” Foster said.

Foster said in the early going he wasn’t “feeling like myself,” but came around.

“It feels good to win because we worked hard all week and we came together

as a team,” Foster said. “We didn’t have the season we wanted in Lancaster

this year, but to be in this game with coach McMurray and coach Brown was

a great feeling.

“I like being here,” Foster said. “It was a good week and a great learning

experience.”

McMurray said the experience won’t end with the game.

“I enjoyed getting to know these players and I’ll be following their careers

and they move on in their football lives,” McMurray said.

The North staff had one other country link as Brian Dove, a veteran coach

who has worked at Lancaster, Andrew Jackson and Lewisville high schools,

was a North assistant.

“Other than the weather, we had a great week,” said Dove, a Lancaster

County resident who now coaches at Blackville-Hilda High School. “We had a great bunch of

kids and a great group of coaching. It was great working with them. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with coach McMurray. He did a fine job of leading us.”