December 16, 2006

North Carolina wins Shrine Bowl

SPARTANBURG, S.C.- Greenville (N.C.) Rose running back Jonathan Williams rushed for 72 of his game-high 106 yards in the fourth quarter as the North Carolina all-stars downed South Carolina, 23-16, in the 70th Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas on Saturday afternoon at Gibbs Stadium on the campus of Wofford College.

The game marked the fourth time in five years that North Carolina has downed its neighbors to the south in the annual event and the second straight year the Tar Heel squad has won a relatively close game. Last year, North Carolina won 28-23.

On the first play of the final frame, Williams scored his lone touchdown of the contest on a 9-yard dive play up the middle to give North Carolina a 20-16 lead. The touchdown run capped a three-play, 17-yard drive that was set up by a fumble recovery at the South Carolina 17 by Notre Dame commit Kerry Neal of Bunn High.

Williams won the Offensive Most Valuable Player award for North Carolina. East Carolina, Clemson, North Carolina State and a number of other programs are giving Williams, an emerging sleeper prospect, a look.

The touchdown drive came as South Carolina had seemingly reclaimed momentum after Rivals100 defensive end Cliff Matthews had hit North Carolina quarterback Scott Riddle and forced fumble, which was recovered by linebacker Stanley Hunter and returned 66 yards for a touchdown that put the Sandlappers up 16-13 with 2:10 remaining in the third.

Matthews, a University of South Carolina commit, was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player for the South Carolina squad following the game. In addition to the forced fumble, he finished with two sacks, a fumble recovery and four total tackles.

Hunter, who is committed to Clemson, also enjoyed a big day, finishing with a team-high nine total tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

Nick Kinney's 30-yard field goal put South Carolina ahead 3-0 on the Sandlappers' second possession, which was set up by a Matthews fumble recovery at the North Carolina 49.

Five-star quarterback Willy Korn of Duncan Byrnes enjoyed his best drive of the day, finding Michigan commit Junior Hemingway of Conway on a 17-yard strike to set up the kick. Sleeper running back Jae Fitzgerald of Sumter Crestwood had 14 yards rushing on the 46-yard drive.

Korn wasn't his usual self during the game, completing 5-of-15 passes for 62 yards and an interception. Hemingway finished with two receptions for 19 yards while Fitzgerald had a team-high 30 yards on six carries.

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