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I have been involved with high school football for almost 30 years now. I am sick and tired of the Shrine Bowl being billed as the “best of South Carolina vs. North Carolina.” I recently read the list of players named to this year’s team and yes, they may be good players, but the “best”? How can you pick a team with so much football to be played? Some of these teams have six or seven more games to play.
I had a recent conversation with Sheldon Brown, who in 1996, was undoubtedly one of best in the country but did not make the Shrine Bowl. Sheldon could have set the high school rushing record and made it untouchable if he had carried the ball more or played the entire game, but that was not Coach Bennie McMurray’s style to run up the score or try to embarrass opponents or pad players’ numbers.
Of all the so-called best players back then (most didn’t go any further), Sheldon is still proving that he is one of the best to play high school, college and pro. This game is about having a good buddy system – you take care of my players, and I’ll do yours when it’s my time to coach the game. Same can be said for the North/South game. Sheldon and Andre Goodman are probably the only two who made it through college and are still playing in the NFL.
I was truly amazed that Shaquille Williams, Lancaster High’s quarterback, was left off that list. If there is a better all-around football player or athlete than Williams, I sure would love to see him. I can bet you that those teams that have faced him would agree. I’ve watched a lot of football in my day, and he truly impacts the game. I know there are snubs every year, but sometimes you have to question a coach’s choice.
I just hope Shaquille and other players use this as Sheldon did as a motivation to succeed. So please, let’s quit with the “best” already.