Braves, Sharks battle for more than bragging rights

As if the neighborhood rivalry between St. James and Socastee needed any more fuel added to the fire, a playoff berth is on the line when the two teams meet at Braves Stadium tonight.

Socastee can lock up at trip to the Class AAA playoffs with a win over St. James, while the Sharks can do the same by beating the Braves. It’s a bid that seemed unlikely for both teams just two weeks ago.

Socastee was coming off a painful 23-22 loss to region foe Georgetown, the Braves’ fourth defeat of the season by a touchdown or less, to fall to 2-6 on the season.

Meanwhile, the Sharks were being shredded by region champion Myrtle Beach to drop to 2-6. It seemed the battle of Highway 707 would be for bragging rights alone.

But the Braves bounced back by beating Wilson last weekend while the Sharks showed up to knock off North Myrtle Beach Those wins, coupled with some shakeup in the region standings, added a little more drama to the southside rivalry.

Socastee won this meeting 44-13 last year but St. James a different team under first-year coach Mark Fischer. Still, the Sharks don’t have the beef up front to stop the Braves’ triple-option attack. … Socastee 27, St. James 13.

* Myrtle Beach at North Myrtle Beach: It’s a tale of two bordering cities – the best of times for Myrtle Beach and the worst of times for North Myrtle Beach.

The defending state champion Seahawks wrapped up their fifth straight region title last week while the Chiefs suffered their school-record 22nd consecutive defeat.

Make it 23 tonight as the Seahawks try to amp up for the playoffs and flex a little muscle in the local rivalry. … Myrtle Beach 49, North Myrtle Beach 7.

* West Florence at Carolina Forest: The Class AAAA teams have one more week left in the regular season, but the playoff stakes are just as high in Region VIII.

The Panthers (7-2 overall, 2-1 region) are in the hunt for the region championship but need to beat the Knights tonight. Carolina Forest’s superior offense will help them stay in the chase one more week leading up to next week’s regular-season finale against rival Conway. … Carolina Forest 34, West Florence 22.

* Conway at Sumter: The Tigers are riding quarterback Mykal Moody to playoff positioning following his five-TD performance in last week’s comeback victory over South Florence, and he scored six TDs the week before.

The Gamecocks lost to Carolina Forest last week and won’t be overlooking a visit from another Horry County team tonight, but the Tigers have the horses to pull out another win at Sumter. … Conway 33, Sumter 20.

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