College football 2021 wrapup: Several local products advance to bowl games, include both sides of Charlotte’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl

By Richard Walker

For the first time in its 20-year, Charlotte’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl will be an all-Carolinas matchup as North Carolina will meet South Carolina in the 2021 game that will be played at 11:30 a.m. on Dec. 30 at Bank of America Stadium.

British Brooks scores a touchdown on his “Senior Day” earlier this season in North Carolina’s home win over Wofford. [goheels.com photo]
This will be the 59th football meeting between the schools and third at BoA Stadium; North Carolina leads the series 35-19-4 and the teams have split their Charlotte meetings with South Carolina winning 17-13 in 2015 and North Carolina winning 24-20 in 2019.

North Carolina is making its fifth appearance in the bowl and first since 2013; North Carolina is 1-3 in the bowl, losing to Boston College (2004), West Virginia (2008) and Pittsburgh (2009) and beating Cincinnati (2013).

South Carolina previously played in the bowl game in 2018 and lost to Virginia.

For North Carolina (6-6, 3-5 ACC), Kobe Paysour (former Kings Mountain) played in one game, Dontavius Nash (Huss 2021) had one tackle in three games, British Brooks (Ashbrook 2018) rushed for 223 yards and three touchdowns and six tackles in 10 games, Spencer Triplett (Shelby 2020) played in one game, A.J. Blue (North Gaston 2008) is an assistant strength coach and Gabe Stephens (Mountain Island Charter 2021), Kendall Karr (Cramer 2020) and Todd Pledger (Mountain Island Charter 2021) are on the Tar Heels’ roster.

And for South Carolina (6-6, 3-5), Nick Muse (South Point 2017) caught 20 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns for the Gamecocks.

Here are the other local products from Cleveland, Gaston and Lincoln counties who are participating in postseason bowl games:

For Appalachian State (10-3, 7-1 Sun Belt), Lance Ware (Shelby 1992) is a senior assistant to the head coach with sophomore offensive tackle Larry Dowdy (South Point 2019) and freshman linebacker Nate Blanton (Crest 2019) on the Mountaineers’ roster. ASU plays Western Kentucky on Dec. 18 in the Boca Raton Bowl.

For Clemson (9-3, 6-2 ACC), Kyle Richardson (South Point 1998) is the Tigers’ director of high school relations and Justin Foster (Crest 2017) has five tackles in five games and Lannden Zanders (Crest 2019) two tackles in one game. The Tigers play Iowa State on Dec. 28 in the Cheez-It Bowl.

For East Carolina (7-5, 5-3 American), Devon King (South Point 2020) has five tackles in eight games and Aaron Ramseur (Crest 2016) has 41 tackles (4 for losses) and one fumble recovery in nine games and Ray Rose (South Point 2020) and Carson Smith (South Point 2021) are on the Pirates’ roster. ECU plays Boston College on Dec. 27 in the Military Bowl.

For Missouri (6-6, 3-5 SEC), Charlie Harbison (Crest 1978, Gardner-Webb 1982) is associate head coach and Dameon Wilson (Kings Mountain 2021) has played in three games for the Tigers. Missouri plays Army on Dec. 22 in the Armed Forces Bowl.

For N.C. State (9-3, 6-2 ACC), Jaylon Scott (Shelby 2019) made 30 tackles (4 for losses) in 12 games and Zo Wallace (Huss 2020), Samuel Duncan (West Lincoln 2021), Travali Price (North Lincoln 2021), Jayden Tate (North Lincoln 2021) and Jalen Frazier (former East Lincoln) are on the Wolfpack roster. N.C. State plays UCLA on Dec. 28 in the Holiday Bowl.

For South Carolina State (6-5, 5-0 MEAC), Hezekiah Massey (Clover 2019) caught one pass for eight yards in three games for the Bulldogs, who won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title. S.C. State meets Jackson State on Dec. 18 in the Celebration Bowl.

For Virginia Tech (6-6, 4-4 ACC), Dax Hollifield (Shelby 2018) had 88 tackles (9 for losses and 4 1-2 sacks) and one interception in 12 games and Jack Hollifield (Shelby 2021) played in three games for the Hokies. Virginia Tech plays Maryland on Dec. 29 in the Pinstripe Bowl.

And for Wake Forest (10-3, 7-1 ACC), Nick Sciba (Clover 2018) has converted 59 of 59 extra points and 20 of 22 field goals and Nick Sharpe (Huss 2021) also is on the Deacons’ roster. Wake Forest plays Texas A&M on Dec. 31 in the Gator Bowl.

Here’s how the area’s other players and coaches did this season:

Averett: Four players and one coach helped the Cougars go 5-5 overall and 4-4 in USA South. Dondra Burris (Huss 2019) had 10 tackles in eight games, Namari Borders (Crest 2019) had 21 tackles and one interception in nine games, Dkyieon Byers-Henderson (Forestview 2019) played in three games and Chase Nixon (Huss 2018) earned second team All-USA South honors with 50 catches for 639 yards and five touchdowns in 10 games. Averett’s defensive coordinator/linebackers coach was David Clark (Kings Mountain 2007).

Brevard: Wyatt Lankford (Crest 2019) had 31 tackles (4 1-2 for losses), one fumble recovery and one forced fumble in 10 games for the Tornados (6-4, 6-2 USA South).

Buffalo: Aapri Washington (Mountain Island Charter 2017) had 37 tackles in 12 games for the Bulls (4-8, 2-6 Mid-American).

Campbell: Lamagea McDowell (Huss 2020) had 98 yards rushing and four catches for 20 yards in six games for the Camels (3-8, 2-5 Big South).

Carson-Newman: Christian Erwin (Clover 2020) had four field goals and 12 extra points for the Eagles (1-9, 1-7 SAC).

Catawba: Kujuan Pryor (Burns 2020) rushed for 33 yards and caught 32 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns in eight games, Calvin Stephens (Mountain Island Charter 2018) had 21 tackles and one interception in nine games and Jaden Lockhart (Mountain Island Charter 2021) caught 12 passes for 155 yards in seven games for the Indians (5-6, 2-6 SAC).

Charleston Southern: T.J. Ruff (Crest 2021) had 46 yards rushing and three catches for 13 yards in one game for the Buccaneers (4-6, 3-4 Big South).

Charlotte: Cameron Dollar (East Lincoln 2017) caught seven passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games, Calvin Camp (Shelby 2017) rushed for a team-high 635 yards and four touchdowns rushing with 15 catches for 130 yards and one touchdown receiving in 12 games and Prince Bemah (Huss 2019) had 20 tackles in 11 games for the 49ers (5-7, 3-5 Conference USA).

Cornell: Eric Gallman II (Mountain Island Charter 2017) caught six passes for 51 yards for the Big Red (2-8, 1-6 Ivy).

Davidson: Jake Alexander (South Point 2018) earned honorable mention all-conference linebacker honors with 64 tackles (13 for losses and 9 1-2 sacks) in 11 games and Daniel Carter (North Lincoln 2021) had seven tackles in 10 games for the Wildcats (8-3, 7-1 Pioneer), who advanced to the FCS playoffs.

Duke: Tony Davis (Huss 2019) had one tackle and one fumble recovery in four games for the Blue Devils (3-9, 0-8 ACC).

Emory & Henry: Nate Hamilton (South Point 2018) had 21 tackles in 10 games for the Wasps (6-4).

Gardner-Webb: Eight players helped the Bulldogs go 4-7 overall and 2-5 in the Big South – Matthew Robinson (South Point 2018) had 18 tackles, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble in nine games, Tyler Arrington (Shelby 2021) had seven tackles in 11 games, Jalin Graham (Crest 2020) had 143 yards rushing and one touchdown and caught five passes for 46 yards in 11 games, Kendall Massey (Ashbrook 2020) had 10 tackles in 10 games, Christopher Richardson (Crest 2020) had one tackle in 10 games, Stormy Mosteller (Burns 2018) played in nine games, Tremayne Booker (Forestview 2017) had 21 tackles in 11 games and Eli Wesson (Crest 2021) had four tackles in four games.

Guilford: Five players helped the Quakers go 1-8 overall and 0-6 in the ODAC – Skylar Evans (Lincolnton 2018) had one tackle in two games, Caleb Gibson (South Point 2019) rushed for 78 yards in five games, Paulie Menegay (East Lincoln 2021) rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns in eight games, Nick Sigmon (North Gaston 2021) had two tackles in two games and Cade Ratliff (South Point 2019) had a 34.4 average on 50 punts.

Hampton: Mason King (Mountain Island Charter 2018) had 23 tackles in eight games and Elijah Burris (Mountain Island Charter 2020) was named Big South Conference freshman offensive player of the year after rushing for 640 yards and six touchdowns and catching 12 passes for 78 yards in 11 games for the Pirates (5-6, 3-4).

Johnson C. Smith: Nigel Hatten (Hunter Huss 2019) has six tackles (1 1-2 sacks) in six games for the Golden Bulls (1-7, 1-5 CIAA).

Lenoir-Rhyne: Xavier Jennings (Burns 2020) played in 10 games and Phillip Davis (South Point 2018) played in three games for the Bears (8-3, 6-2 SAC), who made the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Limestone: Marquis Fewell (Kings Mountain 2019) had three tackles (one for loss) in two games and Wesley Barker (South Point 2018) played in six games for the Saints (1-9, 1-7 SAC).

Mars Hill: Antwon McClee (Ashbrook 2019) had three tackles in one game for the Lions (8-2, 6-2 SAC).

Maryville: Jace Brittain (Cherryville 2019) was a second team All-USA South offensive lineman for the Scots (4-6, 4-4).

Methodist: Trevor Hargett (Huss 2019) had eight field goals and 32 extra points and Nick Wiggins (Huss 2018) was a first team All-USA South offensive lineman for the Monarchs (7-2, 7-1).

Newberry: Head coach Todd Knight (Gardner-Webb 1989) led the Wolves (10-3, 7-1) to a South Atlantic Conference title and the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Norfolk State: Head coach Dawson Odums (Crest 1992) led the Spartans to a 6-5, 2-3 finish in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

North Carolina A&T: Zach Leslie (Burns 2016) caught four passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns in five games and Devin Harrell (Huss 2017) had 9 tackles (three sacks) and a 10-yard interception return for a touchdown in nine games for the Aggies (5-6 3-4 Big South).

North Carolina Wesleyan: Trevon Crank (Ashbrook 2021) was a second team All-USA South running back and the league’s offensive rookie of the year after rushing for 571 yards and five touchdowns for the Battlin’ Bishops (4-6, 4-4).

Presbyterian: Anthony Dye (Huss 2020) had 10 tackles in eight games for the Blue Hose (2-9, 0-8 Pioneer).

Ripon: Cory Adams (Huss 2021) completed one pass for seven yards and rushed for five yards in two games for the Red Hawks (6-5, 5-3 Mountain West).

Shaw: Akeythio Carson (Huss 2017) had 39 tackles (5 1-2 for losses) and two interceptions for the Bears (6-4, 5-2 CIAA).

Southern Illinois: Dorian Davis (Shelby 2019) had 14 tackles and one forced fumble for the Salukis (8-5, 5-3 Missouri Valley), who advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs.

Stanford: Marcus Graham (Mountain Island Charter 2019) played in one game for the Cardinal (3-9, 2-7 PAC-12).

UNC-Pembroke: Alex Hodge (Clover 2020) averaged 37.4 yards in 37 punts for the Braves (6-5, 6-4 Mountain East).

Valparaiso: Robert Washington (East Gaston 2016) was named first team All-Pioneer Football League running back after rushing for 1,105 yards and 14 touchdowns and catching 39 passes for 338 yards in 11 games for the Beacons (4-7, 4-4).

VMI: Dorien Starnes (Burns 2021) had 10 tackles in nine games for the Keydets (6-5, 4-4 Southern).

Western Carolina: Five players helped the Catamounts go 4-7 overall and 4-4 in the Southern Conference – Trevor Childers (East Lincoln 2017) made 34 tackles in 11 games, Quenten Zanders (Crest 2018) played in one game, Tre Jolly (Shelby 2019) played in three games, Jaquarius Guinn (Clover 2020) made 21 tackles in eight games and Nathan Linkous (Cramer 2021) played in three games.

Wingate: Four players helped the Bulldogs go 8-3 overall and 6-2 in the SAC – Jaheim Mullen (Huss 2019) has 12 tackles in eight games, Alex Kale (Crest 2019) played in one game, Emanual Bido (Bessemer City 2018) played in seven games and Ricky Smith (East Lincoln 2017) had eight tackles in five games.