Pharoh Cooper has two high school state championships, the Most Valuable Player Award in this year’s state title game and an Offensive MVP honor in the 2011 finals.
Havelock’s star senior capped his prep football career by being selected as North Carolina’s Offensive MVP in the 76th edition Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.
Cooper, a University of South Carolina commit, accounted for more than 300 all-purpose yards and had a touchdown run.
Cooper’s North Carolina squad fell to South Carolina 23-19 at Gibbs Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C., on Saturday.
“In middle school, I never thought I’d have all these opportunities,” Cooper said. “It’s a great feeling and a great honor. I have to give all of the glory to God. He put me in this situation.
“It was a great feeling, in my final high school game, to be named Offensive MVP.”
The Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas is a prestigious all-star high school football game that pits the elite players from North Carolina against the best from South Carolina.
Cooper’s 45-yard touchdown run in the third quarter gave North Carolina a 13-9 lead.
Meanwhile, Havelock senior A.J. Coplon made his presence felt as a defensive back. He played lockdown pass coverage and recovered two fumbles.
“Coach (Jim Bob) Bryant and the Havelock staff prepared us well from our freshman year until now,” Cooper said. “They really developed us into better players. There were a lot of Division I players out here, and we had to make plays.”
The Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas was not solely about the game. The players practiced every day last week, attended mixers, were honored at a parade and visited the Shriner’s Hospital for Children.
Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney was the guest speaker at Friday’s banquet.
“It was a great experience,” Cooper said. “It was an honor to come out here and do it for the kids in the Shriner’s Hospital. We visited with them and I hung out with all of these players. It is an experience I will never forget.”
Cooper passed for 2,895 yards and 25 touchdowns for Havelock this season. He ran for 1,267 yards and 15 scores, and returned three punts for touchdowns.
He was the MVP of Havelock’s 55-21 victory over Concord in the 3A state championship game in Winston-Salem on Dec. 1.
Coplon had seven interceptions and three fumble recoveries on the year. The East Carolina commit returned four punts for touchdowns, and caught 11 passes for 291 yards with two scores.