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October 30, 2012

Five area football players selected for North-South All-Star game

Five area players, including two each from Myrtle Beach and Georgetown, were named the SCADA North-South All-Star Football game Tuesday, the organization announced.

Seahawk linebacker Octavius Thomas and kicker Max Huggins, Bulldog offensive lineman Dillon Alford and defensive end Anthony Blair and Socastee linebacker Adam Crane were all selected for the game. It will be played Dec. 8 at Myrtle Beach’s Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium. The 64th annual all-star game will kick off at 12:30 p.m.

It will be an opportunity for the five players to be honored for their high school accomplishments, but also a chance at extended college looks.

NCAA lower-division coaches generally flood the practices and game.

“I think it’s huge. It will get his name out there from a recruiting standpoint,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said of Thomas. “I really believe if he was 6-foot or taller, everyone in the country would be recruiting him. He just makes plays and makes tackles. He has great instincts. He’s one of those kids who always has a knack to be around the ball.”

Heading into Friday’s first-round playoff game against Manning, Thomas has recorded 147 combined tackles, including 23 for a loss. He also has eight sacks, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception.

Huggins’ numbers also made him a shoo-in for the team. He has made 10-of-15 field goals (two blocked). Last week, he connected on a 57-yarder against North Myrtle Beach. It tied for the mark for fifth-longest in state history.

“Any time we cross the 40, we feel pretty confident with him,” Wilson said. “He’s done a great job of kicking those long field goals. It gives us a sense of security.”

Huggins is also a formidable punter. He has averaged 40.3 yards per punt, and 10 of his 36 kicks have pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line.

Both Huggins and Thomas have recovered nicely from significant injuries. After leading all Grand Strand players in tackles as a sophomore, Thomas missed a majority of 2011 with multiple injuries.

Huggins broke his ankle playing soccer in the spring of his sophomore year and returned to full health just prior to the start of his junior season.

Likewise, Socastee’s Crane has been dealing with injury issues of his own. The Braves three-year starter has emerged as one of the most influential players for Tim Renfrow’s 10-0 team. Socastee won the first region title in school history and will play host to Crestwood in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs Friday.

Crane is a big reason why. Primarily a linebacker, Crane has also shifted to defensive end and even back to offense in a half-back position.

He has put up 55 tackles and three sacks as the centerpiece of Socastee’s defense despite missing time with an ankle injury.

“He does whatever we ask him to do, and he’s done some different things,” said Renfrow, who is also an assistant coach for the South team this year. “He’s had a bad ankle all year, and he’s still given 100 percent. I think that’s part of the whole process of winning, having kids who do whatever you ask him to do.”

Georgetown’s Blair was being considered early on for the North-South team, and he’s only continued to impress the selection committee. Heading into Friday’s playoff game at Marlboro County, Blair has 74 tackles, 16 for loss, 6.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.

His Bulldogs teammate, Alford, has helped clear the path for one of the better Georgetown offensive seasons in recent memory. Coach Bradley Adams’ team is scoring about 25 points per game, but they’ve managed to control the tempo of nearly every contest this season.

Quarterback Caleb Hughes has broken his own program record for passing yards in a season and tailback Julian Lunsford is creeping up on 800 yards rushing.

Tickets for the North-South All-Star Football game are $15, and they will be available at the Doug Shaw box office on the day of the game.

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About the author

Ian Guerin has been covering sports in Myrtle Beach since 2005 and in South Carolina since 2004. In that time, he has served as a reporter on the college and high school beats at multiple publications. You can reach him directly via ian@ianguerin.com.

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