Pigskin Preview: Youthful Braves ready for big things

socfoot-11Doug Illing’s third year at Socastee signals the team’s transition to his spread offense, but the Braves aren’t completely abandoning their traditional triple-option attack. Let’s just call it a quadruple option, with Socastee finally featuring more balance.

Gone is quarterback Jordan Hodge and in is dual-threat QB Brandon Goswick. He will have several targets to choose from, such as wide receiver Keyon Clora and tight end Taylor Karnap. Running back Malachi McClendon will lead a ground game that will still utilize the option to beat bigger defenses.

The youth movement continues on the defensive side of the ball, where linebacker Cole Renfrow anchors a unit that lost eight starters. However, Illing likes what he has seen so far from the young players who have bought into his program and have been waiting their turns to make an impact.

This year’s Braves are “a young and very inexperienced varsity group, but one of the hardest working,” Illing said. “… I believe people will be very impressed to see how year’s group has developed its talents into a team that will compete for a regional championship and go beyond anybody’s expectations.”

Assisting the Braves’ is a scheduling quirk that sees them play their first eight games in Horry County. After hosting North Carolina schools West Brunswick and New Hanover (at Doug Shaw Memoprial Stadium), a doubleheader against Conway bookends a stretch of six games against local rivals, including the Oct. 9 Region 6-4A opener at Carolina Forest. They don’t leave the county for the first two months until an Oct. 22 trip to West Florence.

Photo by Prep Stars Media

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