Week 1: Historic win for SJ; MB, CF roll in openers

Tommy Norwood tried to nix the Gatorade bath. He raised his hand and shouted at his team to turn it around.

Moments later, he was commenting how his dousing wasn’t followed by swarming bugs.

The St. James football coach had just watched his team do something that only one other squad had accomplished in the first 16 seasons of Sharks football. They won their first two games of the year with a 24-10 victory over Hilton Head.

Considering that exactly half of the St. James teams have won two or fewer games in a season, and, yes, the post-game celebration seemed to make a bit more sense.

“Our kids are different,” Norwood said. “It started with Coach [Joey] Price and we kept after it. Some things have changed. … Now, they kind of believe they’re pretty good. I think that’s a whole lot of it.”

It’s not as if Friday was some perfectly played football game from the Sharks. There were a few mental mistakes along the way, a handful of blown defensive coverages and even two penalties that wiped out scores.

But all of that was dwarfed by what St. James did right.

Senior running back and receiver Deondray Stanfield scored a pair of touchdowns, including a highlight-reel-worthy 66-yard reception in the first quarter, and finished with 146 yards through the air and another 45 on the ground. He also blocked a punt.

Malachi Butler rushed for 74 yards, and quarterback Ethan White passed for 176 while rushing for another 85.

And the defense muscled up on a talented Hilton Head offense that last week scored 38 points but couldn’t find the end zone in the final 33-plus minutes this time around. It’s also necessary to point out that a Seahawks squad that featured many of the same weapons won the match-up 34-0 one year ago.

“We’re way better. Our focus is way better. Our confidence on the field is way better,” Stanfield said. “In the past years, our confidence was low. We’re trying to change that.”

The confidence was on display in this one, especially when a Hilton Head roster that was just 25 deep started to show some of its wear and tear from the first three quarters. St. James held possession for nearly 8 minutes in the final quarter and picked off Hilton Head quarterback Gaston Moore near the end zone in the Seahawks’ lone real chance to narrow the gap late.

The Sharks continued to put pressure on their opponents, something they haven’t been able to do all that much over the years.

Norwood was hesitant to make too much of one game, again pointing out that this is only the first two weeks of a 10-week regular season. Still, for a program that has shown just how much of struggle it can be, this was a milestone.

“Who knows?” Norwood said. “We’ve got a lot of trips on this journey.”

By Ian Guerin, myhorrynews.com

Myrtle Beach 52, Hanahan 7

The defending Class 4A state champion Myrtle Beach Seahawks picked up where they left off last season, routing host Hanahan 52-7 on Friday night in their season opener at Goose Creek.

Senior quarterback Luke Doty threw for two touchdowns and ran for a 92-yard score before calling it in the night in the second quarter with a comfortable 45-0 lead.

The Seahawks did most of their damage on the ground, rushing for more than 300 yards. Ben Harriot rushed for two TDs and and Rayshad Feaster had one.

Sophomore backup QB Ryan Burger came in to relieve Doty and threw a touchdown pass to Adam Randall to give Myrtle Beach a 52-0 halftime advantage.

Myrtle Beach’s reserve came in to preserve the win against a running clock in the second half. Hanahan broke up the shutout with 2 minutes remaining.

The No. 1-ranked Seahawks play their home opener next Friday against Laurens at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium.

Carolina Forest 41, Lower Richland 6

Coming off a breakout junior season, David Legette wanted to show that last year’s 14-touchdown, 1,436-yard campaign wasn’t a fluke for the Carolina Forest running back.

He needed just one play to do that.

Legette took his first handoff more than 70 yards to give the Panthers a 6-0 lead over Lower Richland on the opening play from scrimmage. He would find the end zone two more times before the end of the Panthers’ 41-6 blasting of the Diamond Hornets Friday.

“It felt pretty good,” Legette said of initial first run. “I feel like it made a statement of just what’s to come of our season this year.”

Along with Legette, fellow senior Raquan Brown added a pair of rushing scores and quarterback Mason Garcia connected with wideout Josh Murphy for another TD, too.

Defensively, the Panthers didn’t allow any points until late in the fourth quarter, and the offensive and defensive lines clearly overpowered Lower Richland.

“Just dominated up front,” said senior lineman Mason McCue. “Honestly, it wasn’t even a contest. Every week we practice, we think that our D-line is the best D-line we’re going to face. … and they showed it in this game.”

Like Legette, McCue said scoring on the first play set the tone for the night at Lower Richland.

“It just builds a whole lot of confidence,” he said. “We practice all summer and we came into this game thinking, ‘We have to score. We have to score. We have to score.’ So that was really our main goal in this game — just put as many points on the board as we can and dominate.”

The Panthers don’t have a home game until Sept. 13 against Hoggard. Next week, Carolina Forest will be on the road again at Colleton County.

“They made the second round of the playoffs last year,” Carolina Forest coach Marc Morris said. “The test for us is just being able to get on the bus, drive three hours and see what it’s going to be. But, you know, we get those kinds of travel games in the playoffs, too, and it’s something we try to prepare our team for.”

– By Charles Perry/myhorrynews

Nation Ford 34, Conway 6

Gabe Huitt didn’t look like a backup quarterback against Conway.

Huitt, who was forced into action when the starting quarterback was injured this past week against Spartanburg, threw four first-half touchdown passes to lead Nation Ford to a 34-6 win over the Tigers Friday night in E. Craig Wall Jr. Memorial Stadium.

Nathan Mahaffey gave the Falcons the lead for good on a one-yard plunge with 9:35 remaining in the first stanza. Quinn Castner added the PAT.

Huitt connected with Jerrick Foster for a 23-yard touchdown pass with five minutes remaining in the opening stanza for a 14-0 lead.
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Conway cut the deficit to 14-6 on quarterback Carlton Terry’s three-yard run with 2:10 left in the first quarter but could get no closer.

Huitt ended a superb first half with an eight-yard scoring strike to Petey Tuipolotu and 14-yard toss to TY Keaton.

By Robert Anderson/myhorrynews

North Myrtle Beach 28, Loris 0

No. 5-ranked North Myrtle Beach (2-0) shut out host Loris (0-2) Friday night at Henniford Field.

The Chiefs scored all their points in the first half and rode the defense the rest of the way.

Nick Moss, Ramsey Lewis and Zyer Bell scored touchdowns for the offense and Billy Barlow recovered a fumble in the end zone to round out the Chiefs’ scoring.

NMB will travel to West Brunswick next Friday night for a 7 p.m. kickoff against the Trojans.

 

Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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