Change is in the air as local football teams start practice

cffoot-morrisIt won’t be business as usual when Grand Strand area teams hit the practice field for the first time this season on Friday. In fact, change is in the air for the 2014 season.

Three of the seven Grand Strand area teams held their first official workouts under new coaches – Marc Morris at Carolina Forest, Blair Hardin at North Myrtle Beach and Robby Brown at St. James. The trio has just three short weeks with their new charges before leading their team into battle for the regular-season openers on Aug. 22.

Socastee, led by second-year coach Doug Illing, will take a step up in competition by moving from Region 7-3A to Region 6-4A. The leap to Class 4A will make it tough for the Braves to repeat their feat of back-to-back region championships and 11-win seasons. Region 6-4A rivals Conway and Carolina Forest are hoping for better days following respective 2-9 and 1-10 campaigns.

Perhaps the biggest change comes at Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach, where the Saints take a step up from eight-man to 11-man football. CAMB went 2-6 in its inaugural season, and now needs a few more good men to compete in the SCISA ranks.

The only team looking forward to more of the same is defending Class 3A state champion Myrtle Beach, although a better start to the season might be nice. The Seahawks opened the 2013 season with a 1-3 record before getting hot and winning their sixth state title.

All seven local teams hit the gridiron in helmets and shoulder pads until next week, when full-contact drills begin. Most teams take part in the big area dress rehearsal, the CNB Kickoff Classic, on Aug. 15 before opening the regular season in late August.

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