Week 5 Previews & Picks: Rivalries see role reversals

confoot-moodyderrickjumpOK football fans, rewind your minds about one month and be honest: If someone had told you Friday night’s Battle for the Victory Bell would feature a surging 4-1 team against a struggling 2-2 squad, would you have correctly guessed which one was Conway and which was Myrtle Beach?

Or maybe you needed a few more hints. One team has more than 1,126 passing yards for 13 touchdowns; the other has less than half the yardage (542) and only three TDs. Nope, the nod doesn’t go to the usually pass-happy Seahawks and senior QB Drayton Arnold but to the traditional ground-and-pound attack of the Tigers and quarterback Peyton Derrick.

So far it’s been a turnaround season for the Tigers and Seahawks, albeit it in different directions. After suffering through back-to-back 2-9 campaigns, Conway has already doubled that number in the first half of the season. Meanwhile, only a season and a half removed from a state championship, Myrtle Beach is coming off a tough defeat to Carolina Forest and was shutout by Charlotte Christian in the season opener.

The topsy-turvy start could carry over to the Victory Bell rivalry in The Backyard, where wet and windy weather could make this one a sloppy slobber-knocker highlighting running backs Brandon Sinclair and Jah’Maine Martin. Coaches and longtime friends Mickey Wilson and Chuck Jordan have a long history of trying to outsmart and surprise one another, but this one should come down to toughness.

Although Conway dominated the series for decades, Myrtle Beach has won seven of the last eight. The Tigers hope to lighten the load on the Seahawks’ team bus trip back to the beach by relieving them of the heavy hardware. This one should be another classic. … Conway 34, Myrtle Beach 31.

* St. James at Socastee: The Battle of Highway 707 also features a bit of a role reversal after the Braves (1-4) got off to a slow start, but last week’s win over North Myrtle Beach could signal the start of a second-half turnaround.

The Sharks (2-2) have shown marked improvement and have their best chance to knock off Socastee in years. A wet field and windy conditions could turn this one into a real slugfest, possibly neutralizing the passing games both teams have turned to this season. … Socastee 24, St. James 23.

* Carolina Forest at Lexington: Speaking of turnarounds, how ’bout them 3-2 Panthers? Coming off a big win over Myrtle Beach, Carolina Forest now has the confidence to go toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in the state on their home turf. … Lexington 31, Carolina Forest 24.

* Nothwood Academy at Christian Academy: The Saints (0-4) showed improvement in last week’s 40-21 loss to Lee Academy, but they face another tough SCISA foe in the Chargers this week. … Northwood Academy 35, CAMB 28.

Last week 2-3, Overall 19-8.

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