Week 0 Preview: Panthers, Braves ready for rematch

One of the wildest matchups in 2012 could be even crazier this time around, especially if both offenses are firing on all cylinders like they were last year.

Socastee brings back talented senior QB Hunter Renfrow, who operates the Braves’ triple-option like a seasoned pro and is a threat to break every snap. Carolina Forest junior QB Will Brunson counters with a rifle arm and a cast of receivers that will make the Panthers tough to stop this season.

Despite the firepower, defense will likely decide this one. The Braves get the edge on that side of the ball and have a big advantage in confidence following a 12-1 campaign. First-year coach Doug Illing probably has a few wrinkles up his sleeve.

* Conway at Georgetown: Here’s one where pre-game introductions are not only tradition but also essential. The Tigers and Bulldogs both sustained serious turnover in the offseason, primarily the loss of four-year starting quarterback Mykal Moody.

Conway junior QB Ethan Smith saw very little action last season, getting injured in the same game Moody went down. But he’s had a year to get ready for the job. And a Tigers defense that was shredded in 2012 will have to step up to give the offense a chance to get untracked.

Fortunately for Conway, the Bulldogs also lost several stars, so this one could be a bit sloppy. The Tigers won last year’s meeting by a 42-23 score but will have to hit the ground running to get past Georgetown and moving on to bigger competition.

* Waccamaw at North Myrtle Beach: This game is still fresh on the minds of the Chiefs, who snapped their 24-game losing skid against the Warriors in last year’s meeting. This time North Myrtle Beach is looking to take the next step.

With QB Kendrick Furnass giving the Chiefs a serious dual threat and RB Delonzo Williams back from an injury, North Myrtle Beach is poised to put up some points. But they must eliminate the mistakes that cost them late in the year and rely on a strong defense by LB Laquinn Bellamy and DB Cameron Gore.

* Loris at St. James: Last year’s season-opener was a slugfest, with the Lions pulling out a hard-fought 9-8 victory over the Sharks. But St. James has added some much-needed depth in 2013 and has a renewed confidence entering the year.

Good thing because they will again run head first into one of the top defenses in Class 2A that brings back all 11 starters. St. James’ ground game will have a tough time moving the ball against the Lions and must have QB Josh Roper find success through the air.

* James Island Charter at Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach: The Saints take the field for the first time in school history at Ashley Booth Field and look to start the program off on a winning note.

But no one, not even the Saints, have any real idea about what to expect from the opener. The eight-man format gives CAMB a shot to overcome their lack of experience and depth, but it’s a new ballgame, literally, for the first-time team.

Photo by Ranicer Photography

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