Seahawks, Braves, Tigers face tough postseason tests

For the past four seasons for the Myrtle Beach Seahawks, the second round of the Class AAA playoffs have recently been a mere speed bump on the way to the state championship game.

But that could change Friday night when the Seahawks welcome Airport to Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium. The Eagles enter with an identical 10-1 record and a high-powered offense that can go toe-to-toe with the defending state champs.

The last four second-round games saw the Seahawks win 42-14 over Chapin in 2007, 31-7 over Airport in 2008, 38-7 over Midland Valley in 2009, and last year’s 45-22 over Cane Bay, which scored 16 points in the fourth quarter to make it sound closer than the score.

It’s been almost like a second-round bye, but look for Airport to present a much tougher challenge on a chilly night at the Dougie. But the confidence Myrtle Beach has gained with those playoff wins will be the same thing that makes the difference over the up-and-coming Eagles. … Myrtle Beach 41, Airport 34.

* Socastee at A.C. Flora: The Braves have been a great late-season story, turning around a 2-6 start with three consecutive wins to both make and advance in the playoffs.

Perhaps more impressive is the way they have done it, with backup sophomore quarterback Hunter Renfrow replacing senior starter and elder brother Jordan at the helm of the triple-option attack.

Wins over Wilson and Georgetown gave the Braves the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and last week’s blowout victory over Berkeley gave Socastee its first-ever home playoff win. Simply put, the Braves are hot.

Unfortunately, they run into an even hotter team in A.C. Flora, winners of eight in a row. The high-flying Falcons are averaging more than 40 points per game during that winning streak.

Socastee’s ball-control offense should be able to eat some clock and keep the ball out of the hands of the Falcons’ offense, but not enough to stop the Falcons from winning on their home field. … A.C. Flora 34, Socastee 23.

* Conway at Stratford: These Class AAAA, Division II schools sport identical 8-3 records and few common opponents, although the did face each other in a preseason scrimmage back in August.

A lot has changed for both teams since that time, but the one constant has been the superb play of Conway QB Mykal Moody, who has rushed and thrown for a combined 43 touchdowns this season.

Despite a strong supporting cast, the Tigers offense goes only as far as Moody carries them. The Knights defense is sure to key on Moody’s arm and legs but may have to pick their poison.

The Conway defense has come on strong late in the season and should give the Knights a tough time. Look for a hard-fought contest with the Tigers coming out on top. … Conway 24, Stratford 21.

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