Pigskin Peek: Seahawks focusing on next man up

mbfoot-7Anytime a team loses more than half a dozen players on one side of the football, there is a transition period ahead. When those losses include two of the most prolific offensive players in school history, it can be a daunting task.

That’s the scenario for Myrtle Beach High, which saw three-year starting quarterback Drayton Arnold and four-year starting running back Brandon Sinclair move on from record-setting careers to play at Old Dominion. But for Seahawks coach Mickey Wilson, the fall comes too quick to think about anything other than moving forward in a hurry.

“We had a great summer this year. Our guys did a great job in the weight room. So far, we have had a good start to practice this fall,” Wilson said about the team. “We’ve got to get a lot better. We have a lot of inexperience on the field, especially on offense. I am really pleased where we are right now. We just have to continue to get better.”

In addition to the departure of the dynamic duo, the Seahawks also lost two-way player Cortez Brown, who plans to continue his college career at wide receiver at South Carolina State. All totaled, Myrtle Beach lost eight starters on offense from last season.

“Those guys will be big losses for us,” Wilson said. “Obviously moving guys from junior varsity to varsity level, those guys have to get reps, they have to learn to get better, and they have to get used to playing on Friday nights. It’s a work in progress, but hopefully by November or December, those guys will be ready to go.”

In a role reversal from recent seasons, Myrtle Beach may rely more on its defense to win games than its normally high-powered offense. Senior defensive ends Sean McGonigal and Daniel Mitchell will serve as big-time bookends for a Seahawks unit that is heavy on speed and light on size

“Defensively, we have seven starters coming back from last season so we are excited about that fact. We fill like they are going to have to carry us early on,” Wilson said. “Offensively, we only have three guys coming back. We are going to be young, but we have some guys that can make big plays for us.”

The key battle will be at quarterback, where freshman Luke Doty is expected to challenge senior Lawson Cribb for the starting job, but the running back position appears solid with sophomore Jermani Green stepping into Sinclair’s old spot and jersey No. 22. Seniors Keyonte Sessions, Blake Collins, Chris Weston return to the team and bring a wealth of experience to the team that went 11-4 last season, and 5-0 in Region 7-3A.

In a 44-0 victory in a scrimmage last week at Loris, Wilson said Myrtle Beach showed some good signs of flash and experience. He added they also saw many aspects they have to focus on.

“(Against Loris) we played well at times, but there are a lot of things that we have to fix. All of the things are what we call fixable. The main thing is with our guys is to correct the mistakes by watching film and make the corrections on the practice field,” Wilson said.

The Seahawks face Aynor in the nightcap of Friday’s CNB Kickoff Classic on their home field. Myrtle Beach opens the season at home against state power Byrnes on Aug. 20.

MYRTLE BEACH
Aug. 20 – Byrnes
Aug. 26 – New Hanover (NC)
Sept. 1 – at West Florence
Sept. 9 – Socastee
Sept. 16 – Carolina Forest
Sept. 23 – at Conway
Sept. 30 – North Myrtle Beach*
Oct. 7 – at St. James*
Oct. 14 – at Marlboro County*
Oct. 28 – Wilson*

Photo by Joel Beachum

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