Week 8 Previews & Picks: Depth huge down stretch

Now that the football calendar has flipped to October and region play is under way, depth begins to become a huge factor for teams heading into the home stretch of the regular season. No matchup highlights the importance of “strength in numbers” than Friday’s Conway-Socastee matchup.

On paper, it should be a hard-fought contest between the No. 8 Tigers (5-1 overall, 1-0 Region 6-5A) and the Braves (4-2, 0-1). Both teams are getting excellent offensive production and putting up big numbers, but the key stat could be sheer population. Socastee has only 27 players on its roster and have suffered several key losses at running back and up front.

Conway’s roster is twice as long, and the Tigers have stayed relatively healthy coming into the key region rivalry game. Look for the Tigers to wear down the Braves and stay on course for the region crown. … Conway 38, Socastee 20.

* St. James at Myrtle Beach: Both teams are coming off tough losses in their Region 7-4A openers, and the loser of this one is in serious danger of missing the playoffs. Look for the Seahawks (3-3, 0-1) to bounce back for a homecoming win, but the Sharks (2-4, 0-1) could be present a bigger battle than expected. … Myrtle Beach 27, St. James 17.

* Carolina Forest at South Florence: The Panthers (4-2) looked sharp in shellacking Socastee last week and hope to parlay that momentum into a program first victory over the Bruins (1-5, 0-1). … Carolina Forest 24, South Florence 20.

* John Paul II at Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach: The Saints (3-3) are in the hunt for their first winning record in program history, but the Warriors (4-3) are shooting for one of their own. … John Paul II 34, CAMB 24.

* Georgia State at Coastal Carolina: The Chants (1-3, 0-1 SBC) got a rude introduction into life in the Sun Belt Conference last week at Louisiana-Monroe. The Panthers (1-2, 0-0 SBC) had a week off to prepare for their league opener while the Chants are reeling from three consecutive defeats. … GSU 31, CCU 27.

* Arkansas at South Carolina: The Gamecocks (3-2, 1-2 SEC) need this one to get back in the thick of the SEC standings but the Razorbacks (2-2, 0-1) are in the same boat. … Arkansas 27, USC 24.

* Wake Forest at Clemson: The Tigers (5-0, 3-0 ACC) are for real, especially with a defense that is holding foes to 10 points per game while the offense is scoring more than 30. Wake Forest simply can’t match the Tigers man for man. … Clemson 41, Wake Forest 14.

Last week 7-1, overall 32-14

Photo by Chuck Silvey

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