Prep Football Picks: Panthers, Sharks to bite back in Week 1

Carolina Forest rolled up 40 points and more than 500 yards in its season opener … and lost.

The Panthers couldn’t stop Socastee’s ground-pounding attack and lost 49-40, and you can bet they spent the week working on basic tackling drills this week.

But just as critical as the defensive collapse was the offense’s five turnovers – in part due to the wet conditions, but also because of the first-game jitters.

If Carolina Forest can cut out the mistakes and missed tackles, it has a solid shot at knocking off visiting Fort Dorchester, which is playing its season opener. Perhaps the Panthers can take advantage of a jittery foe.

Both teams had identical 7-4 records last season, but the Panthers have some serious offensive weapons and will likely light up the scoreboard against the Patriots. … Carolina Forest 41, Fort Dorchester 27.

* St. James at Andrews: It will be a long bus ride through the swamps of Georgetown County for the St. James football team, but it will be a much happier return trip for the Sharks.

St. James just missed out on a season-opening victory at Loris, falling 9-8 to the Lions despite holding the edge in total yards. The Sharks got the extra mile to win this one. … St. James 20, Andrews 12.

* Loris at North Myrtle Beach: One week after the Chiefs snapped their 22-game losing streak they will try to start a winning streak this week against the archrival Lions.

This one is always a battle between the neighboring schools, and the Chiefs owe the Lions one after losing the past two seasons. Look for the Chiefs to keep the momentum rolling against Loris. … North Myrtle Beach 14, Loris 13.

* Socastee at West Brunswick (NC): I must be honest; I know about as much about North Carolina high school football as I do North Dakota moose racing.

But I do know this; after watching the Braves’ triple option chew up yardage and light up the scoreboard last week against Carolina Forest, I’m not picking against them. … Socastee 38, West Brunswick 20.

Saturday’s games

* Northwestern vs. Conway: The Tigers find themselves in the unusual position of being the home team at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium, home of the archrival Myrtle Beach Seahawks.

But playing the opener of the Surf and Turf Kickoff Classic has it’s disadvantages, beginning with the opponent. Northwestern is an Upstate powerhouse eager to flex its muscle in the Lowcountry.

Conway’s quarterback phenom had a solid opener with three TD passes in the first half before calling it a night, but he may have to work for everything he gets against tough Trojan’s defense. … Northwestern 24, Conway 17.

* Irmo at Myrtle Beach: The Seahawks open their season in the nightcap of the Surf and Turf Classic, so the first-game jitters could be a concern to a team with a revamped offensive and defensive line.

Irmo is coming off a heart-breaking 17-10 loss to South Pointe and will roll into Myrtle Beach angry and hungry for its first win. They’ll have to wait another week; the Seahawks are simply too much at home. … Myrtle Beach 34, Irmo 30.

Last week’s record: 2-2.

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