Team South Carolina was victorious 22–20, Saturday, January 14, at the 4th Annual SC-GA Border Bowl, sponsored by WJBF, Channel 6, and the Augusta Chronicle. Strom Thurmond High School Head Coach Antwaun Hillary, three additional STHS coaches, six STHS players, and one STHS cheerleader participated in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) event, contributing to SC’s win, leaving the overall SC-GA Border Bowl record at 2-2. Perhaps more significant than a winning game were the memories and experiences that the participants were able to make and enjoy.

“Border Bowl IV was a great experience,” commented STHS Head Football Coach Antwaun Hillary, who was selected to serve as head coach of the SC team. He continued, “All the players left their egos at the door and in four days of practice came together to play as a unified SC team.” Certainly this unity led to South Carolina’s defeat of Georgia. Hillary explained, “The Georgia team has many more high schools to draw players from than the SC side, so the fact that the SC team is competitive, must less able to defeat Georgia, is a testament to the quality and drive of the players from South Carolina.”

A committee of area coaches selected the 2017 South Carolina team from outstanding senior football players all over the SC CSRA. SC players came from Aiken, Allendale-Fairfax, Bamburg-Ehrhardt, Barnwell, Blackville-Hilda, Fox Creek, Midland Valley, N. Augusta, Ridge Spring-Monetta, Saluda, Silver Bluff, S. Aiken, Williston-Elko, and Strom Thurmond High School. STHS senior Tyrese’ Nick’s position was quarterback; Jalen Simpkins, running back; Rashad Bryant, wide receiver; Jamiyah Harrison, defensive line; Tre Lanham, linebacker; and Mitchell Settles, defensive back. STHS senior Keonee Bush cheered for South Carolina. Ten individuals from the SC CSRA assisted Hillary as coaches, including LeRoy Collier, Tony Hillary, and Louis Scott from Strom Thurmond High School coaching staff.

 

Harrison commented, “Playing in the Border Bowl was incredible because not one player had a bad attitude. All were competitive and great at their positions.” Bryant agreed: “It was an amazing feeling. We had only known each other for four days but it felt like we had known each other all our lives. It was like a brotherhood.”

 

On Friday night before the game, all were invited to a banquet for Border Bowl IV participants. STHS Assistant Principal and Assistant Football Coach Louis Scott commented, “Playing in the Border Bowl is a great memory-making opportunity for senior players of high character and caliber. They played against each another, or heard about each other on the WJBF highlights show, all season. The Border Bowl is the last chance for them, their senior year, to come together and play as a cohesive team. The game builds memories they will remember throughout their lives.”

Simpkins commented, “I enjoyed the Border Bowl because it was a great experience, and the game was intense. I didn’t get as many snaps as I thought I would, but I still had an awesome time. It might have been my last football game, so I tried to appreciate everything about it.”

STHS Border Bowl participants. In the back row are Mitchell Settles, Tre Lanham, Tyrese’ Nick, Jamiyah Harrison, and Jalen Simpkins. In front is Keonee Bush.