Week 0 Previews & Picks: Conway in coaching limbo

For the first time in 35 years, a local high school football season will open without Conway High coach Chuck Jordan on the sidelines. The embattled coach’s status remains uncertain nearly three months after in-school altercation with a student that landed him on administrative leave with pay.

I’m not here to rehash the details or make a judgment in the case, but I am ready to throw a delay-of-game penalty flag on Horry County Schools. The wheels of justice turn slowly, and the legal system has already dismissed third-degree assault charges. It’s time for school officials to make a call.

Yes, passions run high on both sides of the issue. Sure, the decision is likely to be met with anger and appeals in a politically and racially charged atmosphere. But all the facts are in, and dragging out a decision is unfair to everyone involved, primarily the student-athletes who are opening the season without a clue about who will be their coach.

Interim coach Carlton Terry is more than capable of handling the job, and his 25 years with the program provides some stability amid the turmoil. But he and his players deserve to know where the matter stands, and the longer this unfortunate situation plays out the more difficult things could get.

No matter how you feel about Jordan, the man has dedicated 35 years of his life to Conway football. At the very least, he has earned an answer. Fire him; reinstate him; reach an agreement to let him finish out the season; or allow him to retire on his own terms. It’s your call, but it’s time to make it.

With that said, the Tigers enter the 2017 season with high hopes and the talent to have a great season. Their biggest challenge will be staying focused and united over the ongoing distractions, and that shouldn’t be a problem against the Class 3A Bulldogs. … Conway 34, Georgetown 13.

* North Myrtle Beach at Timberland: The Chiefs have a new head coach and a new starting quarterback since beating the Wolves in last year’s season opener, but they return enough talent at the other positions to start the 2017 campaign off on a winning note. … North Myrtle Beach 27, Timberland 16.

* West Brunswick at Socastee: The Braves need to get off to a good start to build some confidence going into a tough schedule stretch against local and region rivals. A successful season is critical to the future of a program with only 27 players, 13 of them seniors. … Socastee 34, West Brunswick 30.

* Loris at St. James: The Sharks have an excellent opportunity to end the program’s season-long losing streak against the Lions. First-year coach Joey Price knows how to build a winner, but he also knows it takes time. An instant win would go a long way toward starting the turnaround. … St. James 16, Loris 13.

* Myrtle Beach ay Byrnes: Both of these powerhouse programs may be down a bit compared to their recent runs to state titles, but that won’t take any of the fireworks out of this Saturday night showdown in the Upstate. The Seahawks need a big win to wipe away the memories of last year’s bad finish. … Myrtle Beach 41, Byrnes 34.

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