Seahawks, Chiefs may reap rewards of rigorous region

Mickey Wilson didn’t use the term directly.

But the Myrtle Beach football coach knows his team didn’t exactly soar into the playoffs.

The Seahawks, which will open the Class 4A postseason at home against Dreher on Friday, have little choice but to get past an ugly final two weeks of the regular season if they have any chance as fulfilling high expectations.

“We’ve got to reset, reload,” Wilson said. “We have not finished the regular season strong. We’ve got to regroup and do what got us to this point. I think maybe a little bit of complacency had set in. Some lessons are hard-learned. That was a hard lesson we got [against Hartsville].”

Indeed, one week after escaping a game against North Myrtle Beach with a three-point victory, the 70-34 thumping on the road against the Red Foxes was the exact opposite of what Myrtle Beach was hoping for. It was the most points this team had allowed in Wilson’s 10 years at the helm, and it was the second-highest margin of defeat in that span.

In the more immediate future, it cost Myrtle Beach the rights to homefield advantage throughout the lower state finals and even means the Seahawks could be loading up the buses as early as the second round.

That’s where the most important bulk of the regular season could rear its eventful head for not only Myrtle Beach, but the entirety of Region VI-4A. Five teams from this division qualified for the playoffs.

Hartsville and Myrtle Beach will open at their respective fields, while North Myrtle Beach (at South Aiken), Marlboro County (at Airport) and Wilson (at Bluffton) will all play on the road. The strength of the region has been well-documented – with all five squads appearing in the Class 4A state media polls at some point throughout the year.

Now, it’s time for them to prove just how good they can be when it matters most.

“We knew it was going to be murderer’s row every week,” North Myrtle Beach coach Matt Reel said. “Once you get to the playoffs, you look at it more as a positive because you know your guys are battle tested.

“I feel like we are in a conference tournament like back when I was in high school playing basketball. Not trying to look too far ahead, but [including] round three, we could end up playing another region opponent.”

A double-up of rematches in the second round is by no means a complete stretch of the imagination. It would require the four teams beyond Hartsville to all win. If that happens, Myrtle Beach would host Marlboro County and North Myrtle Beach would play Wilson at home.

“Watching our guys play, and then watching film,” Reel said, “I’ll put our region up against anybody.”

That scenario would then set up a Region VI-4A rematch in the third round, too, with quite possibly the chance to play Hartsville in the lower state finals on the line.

Does it always play out like that? Of course not.

But the coaches inside this region know they’ve earned the right to at least have the possibility exist.

“We joke about it being the SEC in 4A,” Wilson said. “That’s definitely a good way to put it. We have to be ready for some rematches in the bottom half of the bracket. It wouldn’t surprise me if all five of our teams got a first-round win.”

Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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