Taylor Hearn of Williston-Elko High was among 40 of the best football players from South Carolina in the annual battle against North Carolina in 2013 Shrine Bowl Dec. 21 in Spartanburg.
Hearn was on the winning side as quarterback Mason Rudolph of Northwestern High tossed a 21-yard touchdown pass to Shaq Davidson of Gaffney High with 16 seconds remaining for a 28-23 win.
Hearn, an All-State tackle, was switched to left guard for the classic. Hearn delivered a strong individual performance, helping to open running lanes as the Sandlappers rushed for 106 of their 302 total yards.
"It was a fun and exciting game that I was glad to be a part of," Hearn said. "We started strong in the first half, but we bogged down early in the second half. After they took lead on us late in the fourth quarter, we came together on the final drive to pull out the win."
Coming from a small 1A school, Hearn knew he was going to be tested early and often during the week of practices. For Hearn, being able to stand his ground against larger defenders was very important.
"At this level, everyone is bigger, stronger and faster," Hearn said.
"I knew going in I wasn't going to be able to overpower players like I did in the class A division. Since I was well-coached at Williston-Elko, I relied on my fundamentals and techniques and things worked out well."
Hearn said winning the game was a perfect ending to a great week of festivities that included a visit to the Shriner Hospital for Children, located in Greenville.
"This was one of the most memorable weeks of my life," Hearn said. "One of the best experiences I had was going to the hospitals and talking the kids. It's an eye-opening experience. The kids were really happy to have us there and I was equally excited to be there."
The Shrine Bowl and the South Carolina Border Bowl All-Star games marked the end of Hearn's prep career.
The next time Hearn dons the pads will be with the Clemson Tigers with whom he has verbally committed.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to play at Clemson. It's like a childhood dream come true. I'm going to go up there and work very hard and do whatever I can to help the team," Hearn said. "I'd like to thank God, my parents, grandparents, siblings, coaches, teammates and fans for their support throughout the years. Without them, this wouldn't be possible,"
Taylor Hearn is the son of Roger and Kay Hearn of Williston.
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