Week 2 Previews & Picks: MB, CF impress in debuts

Although it’s too early to draw conclusions from one game, Friday’s season openers have football fans for Myrtle Beach and Carolina Forest wondering how good their teams can be.

Both squads were impressive in their 2018 debuts, with No. 4-ranked Myrtle Beach shutting out Hanahan 37-0 and Carolina Forest handling Lower Richland 34-14 before home crowds.

Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson was cautiously optimistic about how the Seahawks performed in all three phases of the game, but he knows there’s always room for improvement.

“It was a good first win. We did some things really well and played with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm, especially in the first half,” Wilson said. “But after watching film, there are a lot of things to correct. You’re always going to make mistakes in the first game, but I’m real happy with the win and I’m excited about us getting better.”

Myrtle Beach junior quarterback and South Carolina commitment Luke Doty showed why he was so sought after in recruiting in his first game as the locked-in starter. He completed 12 of 20 passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns to zero interceptions. In fact, the Seahawks had no turnovers, two penalties and scored on both defense and special teams.

“(Luke) played really well. He went through his reads and got the ball in the right spot, which is something he’s really been focused on,” Wilson said of his QB before turning his praise to the other side of the ball. “(The defensive line) is a great group with a lot of experience and they helped us pitch a shutout. If they stay healthy, they’ve got a chance to be really special.”

Doty’s third TD went to senior wide receiver Marcus “Chunk” Grissett, who made a highlight-reel catch with a 30-yard touchdown reception, but only because he made it one. Streaking downfield with no defenders in sight, Grissett made a one-handed stab and grab in full stride, landing him on several local TV top-plays lists.

Wilson was less impressed by the style points than the six actual points on the scoreboard. “As long as it’s a touchdown, I’m good with it,” he said.

The Seahawks hit the road for a big showdown with Class 5A squad Laurens (1-0), which opened the season last week with a 34-14 victory over Clinton. Wilson looks forward to the challenge and getting a better look at his team against tougher competition, as well as making a long bus trip to a hostile environment.

“Going to the Upstate to play football will be a great experience for our kids,” he said. “Laurens is a big physical team, and they traditionally are a really good program with a lot of crowd support. We will be tested and that’s only going to help us down the road.”

Prediction: Myrtle Beach 27, Laurens 17.

* Colleton County at Carolina Forest: The Panthers (1-0) turned in a strong defensive performance as linebacker Bryce Crawford scored on a blocked punt and forced a fumble for a scoop-six to give the Panthers a 14-0 halftime lead. That gave the offense time to get untracked as first-year starting junior Mason Garcia took over at QB. He threw a pair of TD passes in the second half to Josh Murphy and Jackson Weatherwax. The Panthers’ offense should show up earlier in this one now that garcia has a better feel for the system against the outmanned Cougars (0-2). … Carolina Forest 42, Colleton County 14.

* West Brunswick (NC) at North Myrtle Beach: The Carolina border battle comes to Little River this time as the Chiefs look to hold bragging rights across the state line. The No. 6-ranked Chiefs showed they are legit in their 41-14 victory over Loris last week, and look for more of the same against the Trojans. … NMB 38, West Brunswick 13.

* Sumter at Conway: The Gamecocks have a score to settle with the Tigers after they unseated them for the region title. Conway badly needs to show up strong against Sumter to avoid going 0-3 following back-to-back blown double-digit leads to NMB and Nation Ford, but the Gamecocks may be too much for the young Tigers to handle. … Sumter 24, Conway 20.

Last week: 5-2; overall 7-3

– Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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