Playoff Previews & Picks: MB, Socastee eye rematch

socfoot-renfrowvsmb13An all-Grand Strand showdown for the Class 3A Lower State football championship? It’s time to think about the unthinkable.

While it’s not uncommon for two schools from our stretch of the coast to clash for state-title trips in tennis, soccer, volleyball or other non-contact sports, the full-contact sport of football is often left to the rough-and-tumble country boys to decide, not a bunch of two-hand-touching beach punks.

At least that’s been the statewide thinking for the past couple of decades. Myrtle Beach has been an off-and-on state power and Socastee’s recent run of success puts that stereotype to bed as both teams play for a trip to the Lower State Final on Friday. If both win, the rivals will meet again for the right to go to the state title game.

The trip to Columbia passes through some rural and rustic communities where football is king. Kids don’t have the option of spending their summers at the beach, swimming, surfing and chasing girls. There’s too much tobacco to cut and football to be played, and they’re not going to lose to a bunch of beach brats.

These small towns pride themselves in their football programs because, well, quiet honestly, there’s not much more to take pride in other than the annual Huckleberry Pie Festival. The boys play football because there’s nothing else to do and it’s their ticket out of town. It’s not hard to rally the town around the team.

But on the Strand, building a strong football program is a challenge. Teenagers have so many options to spend their summers working and playing on the beach that football often takes a backseat to saving up money for a car or a surfboard. It’s a lot more fun huddling up with some hotties on vacation than your sweaty buddies on the gridiron.

Factor in the high number of transplants to the area, where a lower percentage of residents went to school here and a high number of retirees didn’t have children attend local schools. Community pride is a bit harder to rally when the natives are outnumbered by newcomers, and there’s a lot more to do on a Friday night than attend a football game.

So how have the Seahawks and Braves beaten the odds to reach the Lower State semifinals? There are no shortcuts; they old-fashioned way. Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson, Socastee coaches Tim Renfrow and Doug Illing and even North Myrtle Beach coach Perry Woolbright have convinced their kids to put in the hard work that it takes to be winners. They won a combined 30 games this season.

The Myrtle Beach-Socastee series has rarely been for more than bragging rights or region titles. The Seahawks recently scratched a quarter-century itch by winning state championships in 2008 and 2010, while the Braves have put together back-to-back best seasons in school history by winning 24 of their last 25.

So Myrtle Beach travels clear across the state to Edgefield to face Strom Thurmond, which eliminated the Chiefs last week, while Socastee hosts Marlboro County of Bennettsville. Neither local team is intimidated to play these so-called state powers, and the chances of an all-Strand final is just as good as a showdown of schools named after former senators and cigarettes.

So I have no problem picking a rematch of our local rivals in the Lower State Final, which Socastee won by a 38-28 score. Give me Socastee 23, Marlboro County 21 and Myrtle Beach 31, Strom Thurmond 28. I’ll wait till next week to pick the winner of Seahawks-Braves II.

Comments

comments

Gilmore, seven Chants top All-Sun Belt baseball team

Gilmore, seven Chants top All-Sun Belt baseball teamAfter leading Coastal Carolina to conference’s regular-season title, Chanticleer head [more]

CAC swimmers race rivals, storms at Palmetto Invite

CAC swimmers race rivals, storms at Palmetto InviteWhile most of South Carolina was under rain showers this [more]

CCU takes series from ASU in de facto tripleheader day

CCU takes series from ASU in de facto tripleheader day Coastal Carolina played 22 innings on Saturday (completing game 1 [more]

North edges South as rain keeps teams on their toes

North edges South as rain keeps teams on their toesThe Class 4A North-South All-Star Boys Tennis showcase managed to [more]

NMB's Smith picked to kick at Ray Guy prospect camp

NMB's Smith picked to kick at Ray Guy prospect campNorth Myrtle Beach High's Zane Smith received the Ray Guy [more]

Rain plagues CCU's series with Appalachian State

Rain plagues CCU's series with Appalachian StateGame one of the weekend series between #16 Coastal Carolina [more]

Girls Soccer: McCoy, Hall top all-region for Panthers

Girls Soccer: McCoy, Hall top all-region for PanthersThe Carolina Forest girls soccer team cleaned up on the [more]

Strong finish lands Chants in top 10 but no NCAA bid

Strong finish lands Chants in top 10 but no NCAA bidThe Coastal Carolina men’s golf team shot a final-round, 7-under [more]

Boys Golf: Seahawks earn repeat as state runner-up

Boys Golf: Seahawks earn repeat as state runner-upThe Myrtle Beach High School varsity boys golf team finished [more]

Lone Panther Fortenberry ties for third in Class 5A

Lone Panther Fortenberry ties for third in Class 5A Carolina Forest's Chris Fortenberry finished tied for third individually at [more]

Coastal ace Bilous claims Sun Belt Pitcher of Week

Coastal ace Bilous claims Sun Belt Pitcher of WeekCoastal Carolina junior Jason Bilous was voted the Sun Belt [more]

MB's Cahill, Wallen make deep runs at state singles

MB's Cahill, Wallen make deep runs at state singlesThe Myrtle Beach High boys tennis team sent a pair [more]

Chants climb leaderboard in second round of NCAA

Chants climb leaderboard in second round of NCAAThe Coastal Carolina men’s golf team shot an even-par round [more]

Soccer: SJ's Williams joins MB trio on all-state squad

Soccer: SJ's Williams joins MB trio on all-state squadThree Myrtle Beach High soccer players and one St. James [more]

SJ's Bray, MB's Edwards at top of All-Region 7-4A list

SJ's Bray, MB's Edwards at top of All-Region 7-4A listFollowing a near-miss bid to the Class 4A state championship [more]

Locals top all-region team; MB's Bodge earns all-state

Locals top all-region team; MB's Bodge earns all-stateGrand Strand area teams dominated the All-Region 7-4A team, and [more]

MB's Grigg, NMB duo put teams in hunt for 4A title

MB's Grigg, NMB duo put teams in hunt for 4A titleDefending state runner-up Myrtle Beach is in a familiar position, [more]

Confidence Cougars beat Manzer Academy for title

Confidence Cougars beat Manzer Academy for titleThe Confidence Cougars, an AAU team made up of players [more]

CCU struggles on first day of NCAAs but still in hunt

CCU struggles on first day of NCAAs but still in huntThe Coastal Carolina men’s golf team shot a 2-over par, [more]

Chants sweep Trojans, nab top seed, Sun Belt East title

Chants sweep Trojans, nab top seed, Sun Belt East titleFor the second time this weekend, Coastal Carolina shutout Little [more]

Former Chant Henderson 'truly blessed' after crash

Former Chant Henderson 'truly blessed' after crashFormer Coastal Carolina All-American and Denver Broncos running back De'Angelo [more]

Track & Field: Strand trio strikes silver at state meet

Track & Field: Strand trio strikes silver at state meetNo gold medals made their way from Saturday's SCHSL Class [more]

CA loses double-overtime heartbreaker in state final

CA loses double-overtime heartbreaker in state finalThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach girls soccer team suffered [more]

CCU celebrates Senior Day by making magic number 1

CCU celebrates Senior Day by making magic number 1On Coastal Carolina’s Senior Day, CCU senior Kevin Woodall accounted [more]

Boys Golf: Seahawks take aim at state title as a team

Boys Golf: Seahawks take aim at state title as a teamAfter Myrtle Beach High golfer Holden Grigg's record-setting 2017 Class [more]

Gilmore, seven Chants top All-Sun Belt baseball team

Gilmore, seven Chants top All-Sun Belt baseball teamAfter leading Coastal Carolina to conference’s regular-season title, Chanticleer head [more]

CAC swimmers race rivals, storms at Palmetto Invite

CAC swimmers race rivals, storms at Palmetto InviteWhile most of South Carolina was under rain showers this [more]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach