In the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, the best players from South Carolina join forces each year as the Sandlappers try to get the best of the Tarheel squad from North Carolina.
This year, three area players will do their best to collect a win for the Palmetto State. Strom Thurmond running back Darius Hammond was joined by teammate Aaron Cook, a linebacker, as well as South Aiken offensive and defensive lineman Justin Day on the roster released Wednesday.
The game will be played on Dec. 15, at 1 p.m. at Wofford’s Gibb Stadium in Spartanburg.
Strom Thurmond head coach Lee Sawyer was excited about having two players on the team for the first time since 2005 but said he was glad he didn’t have to decide who made the cut.
“To me, I love them all,” he said. “I’m glad somebody else, that’s their job to choose.”
Cook and Hammond have made it easy on Sandlapper head coach Ray Stackley of Stratford High School and his coaching staff. Hammond is one of the area’s top running backs with 732 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 86 carries in seven games, and he also has 174 receiving yards and another score on 14 catches. He’s added two more scores in the return game.
Cook has been a leader for the Rebel defense, racking up 50 tackles and a sack, in addition to an interception returned for a touchdown in last Friday’s win over Airport.
“I’m proud of all my guys, but it’s a great honor for them to be chosen,” Sawyer said.
While Day, as an offensive lineman, doesn’t have the ability to accumulate the eye-popping stats that the Rebel duo has, the 6-foot-8, 300-pound lineman certainly garners attention. He was the area’s first Division-I commitment of the season when he gave his word to Kentucky before this season began and has been a stalwart on both sides of the line for the Thoroughbreds all season.
Jeremy Timmerman has a journalism degree from Mercer University and has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.