Goose Creek’s talent pipeline to the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas continues to flow.
For the third straight year, the Gators have two players selected to play in the oldest all-star high school football game in the nation. Running back Caleb Kinlaw and defensive end/tight end Kalan Ritchie have been chosen for this year’s 77th annual showcase scheduled for Dec. 21 at Wofford’s Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg.
The game features the top 44 seniors from South Carolina against their counterparts from North Carolina.
Kinlaw has committed to play for Georgia Tech, while Ritchie is headed for Columbia to play for South Carolina.
Kinlaw and Ritchie had key roles in the Gators’ Division II-AAAA state championship in 2011. Both players are on a team that has won 32 straight games on the playing field.
“Both guys have been a big part of our program,” Goose Creek coach Chuck Reedy said. “Both are very deserving of their Shrine Bowl status. Only two from the same team can make it, so we see this as a reflection of our program.”
Kinlaw has rushed 89 times for 758 yards and 13 touchdowns. He is on pace to rush for at least 1,000 yards for the third straight year.
Ritchie is a tight end who is used primarily as a blocker. He is seeing more and more action at defensive end and was recently named The Post and Courier’s defensive player of the week after recording 15 tackles (four for a loss and two sacks) in a victory over Dutch Fork.
Two other local players were selected to play in the game. Stratford star Jacob Park, one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, was named to the squad. He has committed to play for the Georgia Bulldogs. Wando standout Nolan Kelleher will help anchor the South Carolina offensive line. He has committed to play for the Florida Gators.
Park has guided the Knights to a 6-0 record. He was a star at the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp, and has passed for 1,826 yards and 17 touchdowns this season.
Kelleher was one of the most recruited linemen in the South when he ended the recruiting process this summer.
Hilton Head defensive lineman Poona Ford and Bluffton defensive lineman Keith Ford will also play for the Sandlappers.
Last year, South Carolina, coached by Stratford’s Ray Stackley, posted a 23-19 victory to take a 42-30-4 lead in the series that dates back to 1937.
Orangeburg-Wilkinson’s Tommy Brown will coach the Sandlappers. Burton Cates of Lee County is the coach of the North Carolina squad.