Top five surprises from first week of high school football

Top five surprises from Week 0:

* Technically one has to consider North Myrtle Beach’s victory over Waccamaw a surprise since the Chiefs snapped a 22-game losing streak.

But those who have watched the Chiefs come increasingly closer to ending the skid weren’t as surprised by the victory as the margin by which the did it.

Lots of local pigskin prognosticators picked the Chiefs to get their first victory since 2009 against Waccamaw, but no one came close to the 50-14 score. The much-improved offense could account for more wins this season.

* The same Carolina Forest defense that posted four shutouts and held Socastee to a single score last season was shredded for 49 points and more than 500 yards against the Braves’ triple-option attack.

OK, so it’s not exactly the same defense. The Panthers did suffer some key losses on that side of the ball, especially at linebacker, and Socastee’s offense appears more potent with Hunter Renfrow replacing his big brother at QB.

But the fundamentals of stopping the option remain the same, and it was a different story in this game. The Panthers offense tried to keep it close by scoring 40, but they’ll have a hard time keeping pace if the defense doesn’t gel quickly.

* It was certainly no surprise that Conway star quarterback Mykal Moody had an impressive night, completing 10 of 12 passes for three touchdowns in a 42-25 victory over Georgetown.

What was a surprise is that he had only half a night, taking a seat on the bench for the entire second half after building a 35-6 lead at halftime. Sophomore backup Ethan Smith closed ou the game as the Bulldogs managed to make it a closer game.

This could be a common strategy for Conway to improve Moody’s chances of making it through an entire season without injury, but the Tigers may not get that chance with an upcoming schedule featuring Northwestern, Rock Hill, Socastee, Marlboro County and Myrtle Beach.

* Although St. James’ 9-8 loss at Loris can’t be classified as a surprise, the Sharks’ defense was a pleasant one for those looking for bright spots to the tough defeat.

The Sharks allowed almost 30 points per game last season, including 23 last season against the Lions, but held Loris to only one touchdown in the first quarter. They virtually shut down the Lions the rest of the way.

Even more impressive than the 9 points allowed was the yardage tally. St. James held Loris to only 105 total yards and held the Lions to only 2 of 12 on third downs. The Sharks’ D should give them the chance to win more games this year.

* The Week 0 kickoff of high school football almost seemed like the tip-off of high school hoops on the Grand Strand, where four of the five local teams in action lit up the scoreboards for 40 or more points apiece.

North Myrtle Beach’s 50, Socastee’s 49, Conway’s 42 and Carolina Forest’s 40 made for a high-scoring night at a time of year that defenses usually have the upperhand against still developing offensive counterparts.

Local teams averaged 38 points per game, and that stat includes St. James’ 8 points. The figure also excludes the basketball-on-grass offense of Myrtle Beach, which opens the season Saturday against visiting Irmo.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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