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Crestwood's Thorne, Sumter's Dinkins-McCall selected for Touchstone Energy Bowl

By J. SCOTT SEWELL
jscott@theitem.com
Posted 10/22/19

Crestwood High School nose guard Jacson Thorne and Sumter High School tailback Tony Dinkins-McCall have been selected to play in the Touchdown Energy Cooperatives Bowl North-South All-Star football game, joining 86 players from around the state that …

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Crestwood's Thorne, Sumter's Dinkins-McCall selected for Touchstone Energy Bowl

Posted

Crestwood High School nose guard Jacson Thorne and Sumter High School tailback Tony Dinkins-McCall have been selected to play in the Touchdown Energy Cooperatives Bowl North-South All-Star football game, joining 86 players from around the state that comprise the two 44-man rosters.

"Tony has been a good player for us for three years," said Sumter head coach Mark Barnes. "He started out as a receiver, and this year, out of necessity, we moved him to tailback, and he's done a great job. He's very versatile and very athletic and good things normally happen when he gets the ball."

Dinkins-McCall has put up eye-popping numbers so far this season, helping the Gamecocks post a 7-0 record to start the season.

Through seven games, Dinkins-McCall has amassed 647 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on just 61 carries. That's good for a team-leading 10.5 yards per carry. He's added 12 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown and even notched a 20-yard passing touchdown in Sumter's 40-0 victory over Northwestern.

"He actually came to us as a quarterback," said Barnes. "I think he's more comfortable at receiver than he is at tailback, but he was willing to do what we needed him to do to win this year."

The selection came as a surprise to Dinkins-McCall. He'd been lobbying for a chance at running back for the past three years, and knew he could make a difference out of the backfield.

"Either position you put me at I love it, because I love the game," said Dinkins-McCall. "I was always making little jokes to coach like, 'Coach if you still need a running back I'm here. I can do it.' My time came this year. He said, 'I'm calling on you, I need you'. So I told him I was here for the team."

Dinkins-McCall has embraced his new role, and revels in the chance to prove his doubters wrong.

"I'm always the underdog at running back," said Dinkins-McCall. "It's always 'Oh, he's too small or too short,' but when I get in the backfield I always make explosive plays and big plays"

Thorne, meanwhile, has been a rock, and senior leader for the Knights' defensive front. Crestwood head coach Roosevelt Nelson recalled when Thorne first joined the program.

"He came in as a freshman at probably 340-350 pounds," said Nelson. "He was very big and out of shape, but at the same time, I knew he was going to a good player because he wanted it. He's worked really hard in the last couple of years, trimming his body down, getting stronger, and building up his endurance on the field."

Thorne has been dominant up front, recording 35 tackles, five quarterback sacks, seven pressures and a blocked kick so far this season.

"I'm getting better as I go along," said Thorne.

"Jacson's performance this season is what I expected out of a 3-year starter," said Nelson. "He's been very consistent and very dominant at times. It's been a pleasure coaching him these four years. He's an outstanding young man, he puts a lot of work into what he does for the team, and we're proud of him."

Thorne didn't expect his selection either, but he sees it as validation for his hard work and as a vehicle to his future.

"It means a lot to me," said Thorne. "Hard work pays off. I saw football as a way out, and I've always wanted to play college football and possibly even make it to the NFL."

Thorne will play for the South team, coached by Johnsonville High's Ken Cribb, and Dinkins-McCall will join the North team, coached by Spartanburg High's Chris Miller.

The game will take place on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Myrtle Beach High School's Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium beginning at noon.