Playoffs Previews & Picks: Sharks riding historic wave

sjfoot-2The St. James High football team is in unfamiliar territory after winning its first first-round playoff game in school history, but several Sharks’ sports programs seem to be thriving in unchartered waters lately.

In light of the latest list of “firsts” established on the football field, 2015 looks like the Year of the Shark. The boys basketball team made a surprising run to the Class 3A Lower State title game last winter, followed by the boys soccer team’s bizarre 48-hour road trip to reach the state title game. Both were the deepest postseason runs by both programs. Then came the girls golf team’s first-ever Class 3A state championship last month.

The St. James football team seemed like an unlikely candidate to keep the 11-year-old school’s mojo rolling when they were 4-4 following a loss to Myrtle Beach. But the Sharks have rattled off three straight impressive victories, capped by last week’s first-ever playoff win over Marlboro County. I don’t want to jinx the Sharks by starting to pick them now, but it’s hard to count them out against anyone right now. … Midland Valley 24, St. James 20.

* Hilton Head Island at Myrtle Beach: The Seahawks offense is back to its high-flying ways, averaging more than 40 points per game during its current six-game winning streak. Myrtle Beach was riding running back Brandon Sinclair until quarterback Drayton Arnold and his cast of all-new receivers got on the same page. They’ve been lighting it up ever since – a 1-2 punch that’s more than Hilton Head can handle. … Myrtle Beach 35, Hilton Head 24.

* Westwood at Conway: The Tigers drew a tough first-round opponent but should be up to the challenge after having a bye week to recover and prepare. Conway is without injured star receiver Bryan Edwards, but quarterback Peyton Derrick has lots of weapons at his disposal, including Jah’Maine Martin on the ground, but the onus will be on the defense. … Conway 31, Westwood 27.

* Carolina Forest at Goose Creek: The Panthers were rewarded for their turnaround season with a rare playoff bid, but a first-round trip to face the Gators is far from a treat. Expect Carolina Forest to put up a strong fight like it has most of the season but the Panthers have their work cut out for them Friday. … Goose Creek 34, Carolina Forest 17.

Last week 2-1; Overall 43-16

Photo by Prep Stars Media

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