Week 2 Preview and Picks: MB defense needs a boost

The high-tech scoreboard at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium has come in handy for computing some big numbers in recent years, but normally on the home side of the Jumbotron.

Last week’s 64-30 season-opening loss to Richmond County (NC) saw the Seahawks surrender more points since the defending state champion 2009 squad suffered a 65-14 loss at home to powerhouse Byrnes.

Between those ill-fated games, Myrtle Beach’s offenses have been among the most prolific in state history. The Seahawks have surpassed the 50-point mark 15 times, including back-to-back 70-point performances in 2010. A lot basketball teams can’t say that.

Despite last week’s defensive meltdown and offensive inconsistency, Myrtle Beach’s days of hanging half-a-hundred on opponents is far from a thing of the past. But preventing teams from doing the same may be a different story.

The Seahawks knew they were in a rebuilding year coming into the season with only three returning starters on defense. The young unit ran into a freight train in Richmond County, but there were bright spots on the other side of the ball that bode well for the Seahawks.

Sophomore running back Brandon Sinclair, who rushed 16 times for 130 yards and two touchdowns, gives Myrtle Beach a newfound ground game that can keep the defense on the sidelines, which flies in the face of the fast break on turf philosophy but may be necessary.

Sophomore quarterback Drayton Arnold struggled in his first career start with three interceptions, but junior backup Jake Deskins shined in a backup role. Myrtle Beach should have two reliable QBs by midseason and get on the same page with the receiving corps, all first-year starters.

Until the defense gels, the Seahawks will have to lean on the offense to stay in some ballgames, beginning Friday night against West Florence. Myrtle Beach won a hard-fought 21-14 decision last year. This one won’t be quite so low scoring. … Myrtle Beach 44, West Florence 40.

* St. James at Carolina Forest: Despite promising offseasons, these two teams are in danger of heading down the same paths as last year after posting 0-2 starts.

The Sharks have had problems on offense, managing just their second offensive touchdown in the final seconds of last week’s 20-14 loss to Andrews. Carolina Forest’s issues have been on defense after allowing 44 and 64 points, respectively, in their first two outings.

At least one team is assured a win, and that may provide enough confidence to regroup before region play, but the loser will face an uphill battle the rest of the season. This one comes down to the wire. … Carolina Forest 38, St. James 34.

* North Myrtle Beach at West Brunswick (NC): The Chiefs’ defense has been down-right awesome so far this season, allowing only two touchdowns while scoring 16 points on that side of the ball.

The Trojans offense looked solid against Socastee last week, but look for the Chiefs to cross the state line and defend the goal line again this week. … North Myrtle Beach 24, West Brunswick 13.

* Socastee at Lake City: The 2-0 Braves make their first road trip of the season with a long drive to Lake City, but look for the Socastee offense to pile up even more yardage once it gets off the bus.

The Braves committed six turnovers last week and still rolled past West Brunswick. A relatively mistake-free game will allow Socastee to get back on the right track. … Socastee 38, Lake City 20.

* Conway at Rock Hill: The Tigers have looked like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the first two weeks, falling to Georgetown in the opener and then knocking off New Hanover (NC) last week. Will the real Conway please stand up?

Unfortunately for the Tigers, the run into a real buzz saw at Rock Hill, a contender for the state title. … Rock Hill 41, Conway 17.

* Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach at Pee Dee Academy: The Saints seemed to get the hang of this football thing in the second half of their first game in school history, and they’ve had a week to work on what they did wrong. Their first win is coming, just not yet. … Pee Dee Academy 27, CAMB 21.

Photo by Rancier Photography

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