Week 4 Previews & Picks: CF-MB battle of unbeatens

mbfoot-14catchThe battle of unbeatens between Carolina Forest and Myrtle Beach is the big game of the week on the Grand Strand, but this is one rivalry where you can throw out the records.

Although both teams are coming in on the top of their games, recent history in this series says it really doesn’t matter. Despite Myrtle Beach’s position as a Class 4A power and Carolina Forest’s struggles at the 5A level, these two teams have been on fairly equal footing when they step on the same football field. In fact, the Panthers have won three straight over the Seahawks due to a forfeit in 2014. Carolina Forest upset Myrtle Beach 24-20 last season and 41-35 in 2012.

To put those results in perspective, consider the disparity between the two schools’ success rates over the past five seasons. The Panthers are 15-33 over that span, which includes this year’s 3-0 start. Conversely, Myrtle Beach is 46-15 with one state championship and several deep playoff runs, which have allowed the Seahawks to play more than a full season (13 games) more than the Panthers. This series seems to bring out the best in Carolina Forest and the worst in Myrtle Beach.

Look for that trend to continue Friday night at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium. Myrtle Beach is coming off a 70-0 thrashing of Socastee, and no one has gotten within two touchdowns of the Seahawks this season. Carolina Forest survived a 14-13 scare against Hoggard (NC) last week and lost star running back Dyverse Simmons for the season. But if history repeats itself, this should be another classic showdown between the Panthers and Seahawks, who should snap the three-game series skid. … Myrtle Beach 35, Carolina Forest 34.

* North Myrtle Beach at Socastee: Don’t forget about the area’s other undefeated team, the Chiefs, who moved up to No. 7 in the Class 4A rankings following their impressive 4-0 start. They face a familiar foe in Socastee, which remains winless on the season.

North Myrtle Beach’s defense is physical and athletic enough to stop the Braves, who were shutout last week after averaging more than 40 points per game in their first two contests. And Socastee’s defense must somehow regroup from giving up 70 to the Seahawks last season – a tall task given Chiefs quarterback Ronnie Bass Jr. and his long list of weapons. … North Myrtle Beach 34, Socastee 13.

* St. James at Georgetown: The winless Sharks face another tough test against the Bulldogs, who are coming off a big win over Stratford. St. James has been the victim of a difficult schedule so far this season, and it doesn’t get any easier against the Bulldogs. A rainy week on Georgetown’s Lowcountry field could turn this one into a sloppy affair. … Georgetown 27, St. James 13.

Last week 5-0; Season 17-4

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