First-year football coaches winless in Week 0 openers

st-james (2)Week 0 was a fitting number for the five Grand Strand football teams that opened the season Friday night. Zero is the exact number of combined victories they accumulated.

First-year coaches Blair Hardin (North Myrtle Beach), Robby Brown (St. James) and Marc Morris (Carolina Forest) received tough orientations in their first official nights on the job. The trio lost by a combined score 124-44.

Conway lost a hard-fought contest with Georgetown 25-17 (see story), while Socastee’s game at West Brunswick (NC) was postponed until 2 p.m. Saturday with the Braves holding a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter. The Braves are the Grand Strand’s last chance at a win in Week 0 in what was an otherwise difficult debut for local teams.

Dillon 56, North Myrtle Beach 16

The Blair Hardin era at North Myrtle Beach began with a disappointing but somewhat predictable outcome against two-time defending Class 2A state champion Dillon.

Dillon, a town famous for the “South of the Border” tourist trap and its state powerhouse Wildcats, welcomed the former NC coach to the Palmetto State with a blowout of his Chiefs. A game that began with much promise was over almost before it started.

North Myrtle Beach took the opening kickoff and drove to the Wildcats’ 1 before a penalty forced the Chiefs into a missed field goal. The Wilcats countered by scoring on their first four possessions, converting a pair of NMB turnovers into touchdowns.

Dillon’s Jameson Chapman ran for a pair of TDs and standout quarterback Avery McCall threw one TD pass and ran for another. Dillon also picked off and returned a pair of Kendrick Furness passes to paydirt for a 42-7 halftime lead. Furness’ TD pass to Colby Gore was NMB’s lone first-half score.

Dillon opened the second half with a long TD run by Dashaun Davis for a 49-7 lead, and the Chapman completed the hat trick for his third TD of the night and a 56-7 advantage. The Chiefs had another delay of game penalty cost them a potential score late in the third quarter, but the NMB defense delivered a safety and backup QB Ronnie Bass came on in the fourth and scored on a long TD run to make it 56-16.

Darlington 41, Carolina Forest 21

Carolina Forest was out to prove that its defense was much improved under first-year coach Marc Morris. Apparently, Darlington running backs Trayvon Thomas and Antonio Hanah didn’t get the memo.

Thomas rushed for more than 200 yards and the Falcons’ first four touchdowns against the Panthers in Friday night’s season opener at Carolina Forest before leaving the game with leg cramps. Hanah came on in relief and added two more TD runs to put away the pesky Panthers.

After having the state’s worst defense in 2013, the Panthers looked much improved but didn’t have an answer for Thomas. He scored on runs of 2,3,5 and 5 before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter.

After quarterback Will Brunson threw a pair of touchdown passes – a 27-yarder to Khalil Brantley and a 40-yarder to Victory Woods – Carolina Forest cut the deficit to 27-21 in the fourth quarter on a touchdown.

But Darlington iced with a pair of long runs by Hanah and the Panthers were unable to answer offensively.

Loris 27, St. James 7

The Sharks ran into a brick wall in Loris’ vaunted defense, spoiling the St. James debut of first-year coach Robby Brown.

Loris quarterback Ta’Jay Williams threw a pair of touchdown passes to get past a stingy Sharks run defense. One went to Junior Long, who also returned a fumble recovery into a touchdown.

St. James’ lone touchdown also came through the air as Zach Werba hit Zach Hurston for a 50-yard hookup.

Photo by Tyler Watkins

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