Luke Doty

Myrtle Beach's Luke Doty is named Mr. Football in the Touchstone Energy Bowl at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

Luke Doty’s high school career ended before it should have.

The Myrtle Beach quarterback still put one heck of a bow on it on Saturday.

The Seahawks senior was named as the 2019 South Carolina Mr. Football during halftime of the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium. The South beat the North 35-13, but this day quickly turned into Doty’s.

He’s just the second Horry County player to win the honor, which started in the 1990s.

More importantly, it somewhat pads the blow from missing the majority of the playoffs with a season-ending hand injury.

“Those other guys, those other finalists, are definitely deserving of the award as well,” Doty said. “They all played throughout the whole season and did really well. And coming as the guy who got injured [and couldn’t finish the year] and still winning this, I can’t thank the coaches enough for continuing to believe in me.”

Doty threw for 1,874 and 25 touchdowns yards in fewer than 10 games while also rushing for 408 yards and four scores. However, he suffered a small fracture in the thumb of his throwing hand in the postseason opener against Lakewood.

He underwent surgery the following week, and despite hopes that he could return to the field in another capacity, he wasn’t cleared.

The University of South Carolina commitment (he’ll formally sign this week) was forced to withdraw from the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, leaving Saturday’s Mr. Football ceremony as one of the final chapters of his Seahawk legacy.

Earning Mr. Football, even without playing in what amounted to one-third of the season, wasn’t a surprise to his head coach.

“I always thought he had a really, really good shot at this,” Mickey Wilson said. “Just the success he has off the field sort of puts him into a different category. I think that’s what put him over the top.

“It didn’t end on the field in a way that he wanted to. But he got this award and he’s very deserving. … It’s great to see this happen.”

As far as the game wrapped around Saturday’s top individual announcement, an apparent North blowout quickly turned the other way.

After trailing 10-0 early, the South scored 35 points in the final 14 minutes. Dutch Fork’s Tyler Olenchuk threw for two touchdowns, Airport’s Nanders Lawrence ran in another and Wade Hampton's De'Shareoh Williams had one of his own.

May River’s Terry Fields then put an exclamation point on the comeback with a pick-six with less than one minute to play.

It was dramatically more exciting than a first half that featured nine punts.

Four local players were included in Saturday’s game. Myrtle Beach linebackers Kenny Byrd and Shedrick Pointer played extensive minutes, along with Green Sea Floyds defensive back A.J. Campbell. North Myrtle Beach’s Ramsey Lewis, playing running back after being featured as the Chiefs’ quarterback this fall, was limited to just two carries in the pass-heavy scheme.

The lack of local highlights, however, was overshadowed by Doty’s history-making afternoon.

He is the third straight South Carolina Mr. Football to head to the University of South Carolina, joining T.L. Hanna’s Zacch Pickens (2018) and Fort Dorchester’s Dakereon Joyner (2017). He also joins J.D. Melton, the Myrtle Beach quarterback who won it in 2004, as the only locals to do so.

It all put him in an exclusive group, and left him wondering what he would do with his newfound hardware.

“I’ll probably put it up in my room somewhere and let it collect dust,” Doty said. “I love winning awards, but that’s not the end-all, be-all for me. I like going out and winning, and awards are something that come along with it.”

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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