Panthers prepare for tough first-round playoff test

In the last five years, Carolina Forest coach Marc Morris has found himself getting ready for Lexington on a regular basis.

After inheriting two early regular-season games against the Wildcats from the previous coaching staff’s scheduling, Morris is now preparing for a second consecutive first-round home game against the Midlands squad that is three hours away by bus. Those four games against Lexington match the most times the Panthers have played any non-region opponent during his tenure, with Carolina Forest also having played Myrtle Beach four times in that span.

It would be easy to think the Panthers’ staff is rolling out much of the same game plan when it hosts Lexington.

Not so fast.

“We start from scratch. The way turnover happens so much, it’s new from one year to the next,” Morris said. “[Lexington coach] Perry [Woolbright] does a good job. But any time you change a quarterback, what you do on offense is going to change.”

Morris could have been talking about either team.

Lexington’s Chase Crouch is no longer calling the signals for the Wildcats; that’s now Cal Herndon’s job. Much the same for Carolina Forest, Morris’ team has transitioned fully to Mason Garcia after Matt Beale’s three-year run as the starter.

That’s not all.

The teams’ respective top running backs have changed names – with both Carolina Forest’s David Legette and Lexington’s Akeem Nicholas having eclipsed 1,100 yards already this season in their first year as the dedicated starters.

Still, neither team is completely ignoring what happened a year ago, when the Panthers scored 27 second-half points and eventually won 34-21.

“It’s motivation,” said Woolbright, who got his first head coaching job at North Myrtle Beach in 2010 before departing for the Columbia area. “We jumped out to a 14-0 lead and then we didn’t play well the rest of the way. We need to make sure we show up to play.”

Thanks to their region finishes, the biggest change between the two teams this time around will be the scenery.

Carolina Forest earned its first home playoff game since moving to the state’s largest classification in 2008 and only its second home playoff game ever (the other coming in 2004). It’s the next step in a natural progression of a team that has been trending upward since Morris took over the program in 2014.

This fall, Legette and Garcia have gotten most of the attention because of their combined 2,800 total yards and 28 touchdowns. The defense is also among the top 10 in the classification in terms of points per game allowed (18.5)

It all added up to guarantee the team its highest ever winning percentage in a single year. In getting to that point, Carolina Forest fell just one touchdown shy of an undefeated regular season and a Region VI-5A title. Many are already considering Carolina Forest the favorite in 2019, but even if Morris’ squad is starting to build toward that, he’s not willing to abandon the opportunity in front of him.

That begins with making the most of a first-round home game.

“It’s a growing thing,” he said. “When you come in and turn a team around, there are just certain steps. Playing home playoff games is the next step. You look at the teams who are really, really good, and they’re playing a bunch of home playoff games every year.

“Next year is not guaranteed. You try to get as much as you can each and every year. Everybody anticipates certain players to be playing and it doesn’t pan out. You try to build your program the best you can. If you get a good run in the playoffs, you can do that.”

Friday’s first-round games:

Class 5A
Lexington at Carolina Forest
Conway at River Bluff
Class 4A
Dreher at Myrtle Beach
North Myrtle Beach at South Aiken

Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

Comments

comments

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to Chadwell

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to ChadwellFive-time National Coach of the Year finalist Joe Moglia, who [more]

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over Panthers

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over PanthersA big win for the St. James boys basketball team [more]

CA's Green, Jones reach major hoops milestones

CA's Green, Jones reach major hoops milestonesThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach basketball programs celebrated a [more]

CCU makes another poll, hosts free clinic for kids

CCU makes another poll, hosts free clinic for kidsThe Coastal Carolina baseball team received another top 25 preseason [more]

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide The national championship game didn’t turn out the way Jaylen [more]

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red Foxes

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red FoxesMyrtle Beach's Emorie Knox erupted for 32 points Tuesday night [more]

Chants fall short on final shot in skirmish with Mavs

Chants fall short on final shot in skirmish with MavsJunior guard Rashad Davis hit a 3-pointer with less than [more]

Hoops: Green lifts Saints; Seahawks rally past 'Dogs

Hoops: Green lifts Saints; Seahawks rally past 'DogsOn a night chosen to recognize a milestone for Christian [more]

All-County Volleyball: NMB duo adds to state-title run

All-County Volleyball: NMB duo adds to state-title runHow do you choose between two state championship teammates and [more]

Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coach

Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coachA referee approached the North Myrtle Beach High boys basketball [more]

CCU baseball joins another Top 25 list for 2019 season

CCU baseball joins another Top 25 list for 2019 seasonWith just over five weeks until the season opener on [more]

Pelicans, Cubs make over field staff for 2019 season

Pelicans, Cubs make over field staff for 2019 seasonThe Myrtle Beach  Pelicans and parent club Chicago Cubs announced their on‐field staff for the 2019 season on Wednesday. New to Myrtle Beach this season, Jimmy Gonzalez will take the helm for the Pelicans following four seasons managing the Single-A South Bend Cubs. The 2016 Midwest League Manager of the Year with South Bend, Gonzalez was  [more]

Hoops: Falcons fly by MB; Tigers rally to top Sharks

Hoops: Falcons fly by MB; Tigers rally to top SharksCraig Martin walked off the court at the end of [more]

Tigers crush Crimson Tide for national championship

Tigers crush Crimson Tide for national championshipClemson captured its third national football championship - and its [more]

CCU alums Ross, Johnson pioneers in upstart league

CCU alums Ross, Johnson pioneers in upstart leagueFormer Coastal Carolina football players Alex Ross and Kerron Johnson [more]

Jags drop Chants in 2OT; Lady Chants lose to USA

Jags drop Chants in 2OT; Lady Chants lose to USAFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina, but it [more]

Hoops: Braves sweep CF; Seahawks split with Chiefs

Hoops: Braves sweep CF; Seahawks split with ChiefsSocastee scored a big road victory in its Region 6-5A [more]

CCU Hoops: Road teams win SBC debuts with Troy

CCU Hoops: Road teams win SBC debuts with TroyTyrell Gumbs-Frater scored a game-high 20 points as Coastal Carolina [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 6: Comets top Cards for title

Beach Ball Classic, Day 6: Comets top Cards for titleMonday's Beach Ball Classic championship game didn't feature the offensive [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 4/5: CA's Green leaves his mark

Beach Ball Classic, Day 4/5: CA's Green leaves his mark This week's Beach Ball Classic has been a memorable one [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 3: MB takes one on the chin

Beach Ball Classic, Day 3: MB takes one on the chinMyrtle Beach went toe-to-toe with St. Edward (OH) before falling [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 2: Socastee, MB, CA stumble

Beach Ball Classic, Day 2: Socastee, MB, CA stumbleSocastee turned in a solid team effort but suffered an [more]

CCU mourns loss of former Olympian, assistant Henley

CCU mourns loss of former Olympian, assistant HenleyTwo-time Olympian (1992 and 1996) and Coastal Carolina assistant track [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 1: Braves, Saints lose debuts

Beach Ball Classic, Day 1: Braves, Saints lose debutsTwo local high school basketball teams found out just how [more]

Wrestling: Young Panthers stay hungry for region title

Wrestling: Young Panthers stay hungry for region titleMatthew Ashworth knows the Carolina Forest wrestling squad isn’t the [more]

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to Chadwell

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to ChadwellFive-time National Coach of the Year finalist Joe Moglia, who [more]

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over Panthers

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over PanthersA big win for the St. James boys basketball team [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach