Week 5 Previews & Picks: Local rivalries mark lineup

So far WPDE TV and sister station CW 21’s foray into televising high school football games is experiencing … well, let’s just call them technical difficulties.

This week’s installment of “Thursday Night Lights” is the latest casualty as the plug was pulled on Myrtle Beach’s visit to Carolina Forest due to poor “off”-field conditions. It seems the areas around the Panthers’ stadium were too wet to allow the TV production trucks to set up, so the rivalry has been moved to Friday while viewers will probably be treated reruns of “The Family Feud.”

The Week 5 no-show is the latest in a string of issues with the series in its opening month. The thrilling season opener seemed a great way to launch the local production, until some cable providers’ broadcast literally switched off on the final and game-deciding 2-point conversion attempt in Hartsville’s 26-25 victory over South Florence. The following week’s game between Myrtle Beach and West Florence lasted less than one quarter before weather issues halted the game. To its credit, CW 21 aired the rest of the game Friday afternoon, but it was before most folks had time to get home from work.

Last week’s lopsided win by Marlboro County over Darlington didn’t do much to help ratings either, and this week’s switch costs WPDE a significant viewership opportunity in a key clash between the Panthers and Seahawks. The past two meetings have been nail-biters, with Myrtle Beach winning 24-21 and 24-20. Carolina Forest (2-1) is out for revenge and the Seahawks (1-3) are reeling after allowing more than 50 points per game in their three losses. The Panthers’ strengths (offensive and defensive lines) are the Seahawks’ weaknesses this time. … Carolina Forest 27, Myrtle Beach 21.

* Socastee at North Myrtle Beach: The undefeated Chiefs and Braves face their toughest tests of the season thus far. North Myrtle Beach (4-0), ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, and Socastee (3-0), also receiving votes in Class 5A, have been impressive, although the Chiefs have had to overcome a lot of mistakes. They will need a complete game to get past the Braves. … North Myrtle Beach 24, Socastee 20.

* Georgetown at St. James: The Sharks (2-2) showed up a little late but more than made up for it in last week’s 42-34 comeback victory at Lake City, and now they have a chance to move over .500 against a battered Bulldogs squad. First-year coach Joey Price’s can-do attitude is already starting to take hold in the struggling Sharks program. … St. James 27, Georgetown 24.

* Florence Christian at Christian Academy: The Saints (1-2) can claim a key region victory at Ashley Booth Field after a tough road loss at The King’s Academy. … CAMB 34, FCA 27.

* Coastal Carolina at Alabama-Birmingham: The Chants run into an inspiring program in the Blazers, whose rise from the dead is one of the feel-good stories of college football. The Chants got a bye week to prepare for UAB and a chance to play on regional TV at historic Legion Field, but the Blazers and the atmosphere may be more than they can handle. … UAB 34, CCU 31.

* Clemson at Louisville: The Tigers got away with one last year in Death Valley. If the Cardinals had a few extra seconds on the clock it could have been a different story than the way the national title played out. Louisville has had this one marked on their calendars and should be able to overcome a dominating Tigers’ defense. … Louisville 27, Clemsaon 23.

* Kentucky at South Carolina: The Gamecocks have played with a fire not seen in recent yhears in winning their first two games on the road, which makes Saturday’s showdown with the Wildcats even wilder at Williams Brice Stadium. South Carolina has lost three in a row to Kentucky, which is common in SEC basketball but not football. The Gamecocks snap the streak. … South Carolina 23, Kentucky 16.

Last week 5-3; overall 18-7

Photo by Prep Stars Media

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