The 77th North Carolina-South Carolina Shrine Bowl kicks off 1 p.m. Saturday at Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg.
The game matches the top senior high school football players in North Carolina against their S.C. counterparts. The game began in 1937 and has raised more than $75 million dollars for the Shriners Hospitals, which specialize in bringing care to children with neuromusculoskeletal conditions, burn injuries and other special healthcare needs. The 2012 Shrine Bowl raised $1.358 million.
The game was played at Charlotte’s Memorial Stadium from 1937-2000 and served as a showcase for legendary players such as Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice, Sonny Jurgensen, Freddie Solomon and William “The Refrigerator” Perry.
Attendance at Memorial Stadium had begun to slip by the late 1980s, when the game was televised live. In 2000, fewer than 6,000 fans showed up attended. The Shrine Bowl then moved, first to Rock Hill in 2001 and finally to Spartanburg in 2004.
This year’s game features 15 players from the Observer’s coverage area in North Carolina, including 10 from Mecklenburg County. The South Carolina roster has three Observer-area players.
South Carolina, which won last year’s game 23-19, leads the all-time series 43-29-4.
• The game can be heard live on ESPN Radio (730 AM) in Charlotte. You can also listen live online at shrine-bowl.com....ESPNU will televise the game via tape-delay Dec. 29 at noon. One of the members of the broadcast team is Chris Hughes of carolinapreps.com, a longtime area high school advocate.
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