Week 1 Previews & Picks: Seahawks ready for repeat

mbfoot-22andarnoldWhen Myrtle Beach High takes the field for Thursday night’s opener to the Jadakiss tune “The Champ Is Here,” the song takes on deeper significance this season for the Seahawks.

Following their amazing run to the Class 3A state championship, the Seahawks have to show they can handle success as well as adversity as they start the 2014 campaign. And they don’t have to look back very far to find some humility – exactly one year ago.

Myrtle Beach suffered a humiliating 64-30 loss to Richmond County (NC) in the 2013 Derrick Law Firm Kickoff Clash. The Seahawks struggled to a 1-3 start before finally putting it together in the playoffs en route to the Class 3A state championship.

The Seahawks face an easier opening foe in this year’s Kickoff Clash against visiting West Brunswick (NC). But the biggest difference is the level of expectations placed on Myrtle Beach, which experts say, should not only repeat but possibly three-peat.

That’s a heavy burden to carry into a new season, but the young Seahawks showed last season they are a resilient bunch. Now they have to prove they can handle the pressure of being favored to win it all, and the best way to do that is to set the tone early. … Myrtle Beach 55, West Brunswick 24.

* Hoggard (NC) at Conway: This Kickoff Clash game was moved to Friday after Hoggard had its season opener postponed until Monday, which would have forced the Vikings to play two games in four days. They probably needed the rest after running all over South Columbus 48-6.

That still gives the Tigers a bit of an edge in recovery time, and they need it after a disappointing 26-17 loss to Georgetown last week. Conway can’t afford to let the opener start a downward spiral to another losing season. Look for the Peyton Derrick-to-Bryan Edwards connection to heat up with a game under their belts. … Conway 24, Hoggard 20.

* Loris at North Myrtle Beach: The Chiefs can take some solace from their season debut beatdown by state power Dillon. They were able to move the ball and costly mistakes set the table for the Wildcats. But they can’t afford a repeat this week against big rival.

North Myrtle Beach faces another tough Class 2A team, but the Lions are a more familiar foe. This is one of the Strand’s top rivalries now that both are enjoying some success at the same time, and the matchup of NMB’s offense and Loris’ defense will be the key.

Look for North Myrtle Beach to use linebacker Keyshawn Moore at running back to soften the Loris front and open the passing game for quarterback Kendrick Furness. The Chiefs take will full advantage of its Week 0 mulligan. … North Myrtle Beach 27, Loris 20.

* Socastee vs. Southeast Raleigh (NC) : The Braves had to make two trips north of the border to defeat West Brunswick (NC), so a Saturday kickoff gives them an extra day to recover before facing this NC power in the Kickoff Clash.

Socastee continued to roll up some serious yards on the ground last week, but SE Raleigh won’t be as easy to push around. This will be a good early test for the Braves, who step up in class to the 4A ranks this season. … Socastee 28, SE Raleigh 24.

* Carolina Forest at Fort Dorchester: The Panthers’ defense put up an admirable fight but still yielded six rushing touchdowns to Darlington last week. Stopping Fort Dorchester won’t be much easier . … Fort Dorchester 45, Carolina Forest 28.

* Christian Academy at Dillon Christian: The Saints step up to 11-man football for the first time and face a tough opener against a playoff contender. Look for the Saints to be a much improved team over the course of the season. … Dillon Christian 34, CAMB 20.

Last week 4-1; Overall 4-1.

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