Football rivals team up to stay sharp, help neighbors

Facing weeks of canceled practices and games, Mason Garcia knew his teammates couldn’t miss a month of football and expect to return in midseason form.

So the Carolina Forest quarterback decided to call a practice. Garcia began texting some of his teammates, and they met at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium in Myrtle Beach. The players ran sprints and played 7-on-7. The team boasted a perfect record and Garcia said they didn’t want Hurricane Florence’s flood to set them back.

“Everybody would have been sluggish,” he said. “Everybody would have been lazy. So I feel like that helped out a lot.”

The Panthers certainly looked energized Saturday, their first game since Sept. 7. They forced South Florence into multiple turnovers en route to a 28-7 win, the Panthers’ first region victory of the season.

“Our kids were just excited to be back on the field,” coach Marc Morris said. “We made some mistakes. We made some mistakes we probably hadn’t made in a while. But they played hard. We felt like our defense flew around and hit tonight. They caused a few fumbles. That was the story of the night.”

The win boosted the Panthers’ record to 4-0 and Morris said the player-led practices show his team’s commitment to the season. But the coach also pointed out that his players did more with their down time than prepare for a football game.

“Our kids care a lot about what’s going on,” he said. “A bunch of them helped with sandbags at Socastee and St. James. A bunch of them helped with giving out food. … We had a lot of kids get out and help the community.”

Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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