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Sports: Shrine Bowl’s first Warrior finds it’s more than a game

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Waccamaw High’s Tyler Davis said he’s enjoying every experience this week as a member of the South Carolina Shrine Bowl football team.

All-star football players from neighboring states will clash Saturday at Wofford College’s Gibbs Stadium in the 78th annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas. The game benefits the Shriners Hospital in Greenville. Davis visited the hospital Sunday along with players from both teams and saw how vulnerable youngsters with health problems can be.

“We learned a lot about what goes on at the Shriners Hospital and how it impacts kids and what this game is truly about,” Davis said Monday night. “It’s not just about football but raising money for the Shriners Hospital.”

Stops on the tour included a visit to the hospital’s operating rooms, motion capture lab and the workshop where prosthetic limbs are constructed.

Davis, son of Waccamaw High head football coach Tyronne Davis, is the first player from Waccamaw selected to play in the game. “It’s a big deal,” said Joan Cribb, the school’s director of athletics. “The good thing about Tyler,” she said, “is that you’d never know he’s won all these awards because he doesn’t brag about it.”

“I call him a big teddy bear when he’s off the field because he’s just easy-going. He’s not just a good football player, he’s also a good academic student.” Cribb said coach Davis deserves some of the credit for his son’s achievements. “Tryonne made him work harder,” she said. “He had to be better. I think all parents who coach do that. They know what their kids can do and try to get a little more out of them.”

Cribb said she and Waccamaw principal David Hammell plan on attending Shrine Bowl festivities Friday night and the game on Saturday.

Davis said he will play center on the offensive line and be the long snapper for the Sandlappers Saturday. The South Carolina team has nine offensive linemen. “Practice is a lot harder than down at Waccamaw,” Davis said. “It was pretty much like I was expecting. The players are all big, really good.”

Davis (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) is the only representative from the Grand Strand on the 44-member South Carolina squad. Dillon defensive back Eri Reon Hayes is the only player Davis competed against as a member of the Warrior football team. The South Carolina team is dominated by players from the Midlands. Pelion High’s Ben Freeman is head coach.

Davis said the South Carolina coaches installed a few basic plays on the first day of practice, trying to keep the offense simple. The team’s quarterbacks — Daniel Thompson of Boiling Springs High School, brother of South Carolina Gamecock quarterback Dylan Thompson, Kelly Bryant of Wren and Marquane Goodman of West Florence — are all dual-threats and can run the same offense. “Just everyone out here is really good,” Davis said.

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