Week 11 Previews & Picks: Playoffs cloudy as weather

It’s another Friday night without the football lights on the Grand Strand as area high school football games have been moved up to Thursday for the second week in a row due to weather concerns.

That makes six of the past eight Friday nights with no football since the fallout from Hurricane Florence, and this one comes at a particularly critical time with the playoffs set to start next week.

It’s time for football fans to take out their calculators and crunch some numbers. The somewhat fuzzy playoff picture comes into full view following Thursday’s games, but not without some complex math.

The scenario involving Myrtle Beach-Hartsville is straight forward: The winner earns the title and top seed, the loser is runner-up and also hosts a first-round playoff game. The No. 3-ranked Seahawks face a tough defensive test from the No. 1 Red Foxes, but Myrtle Beach’s D has held opponents to less than a touchdown per game. The unit will face its toughest challenge against the high-scoring Red Foxes on their home field. … Hartsville 27, Myrtle Beach 24.

* Marlboro County at North Myrtle Beach: The Chiefs (5-2, 1-3) needs to defeat visiting Marlboro County (6-2, 2-2) to force a three-way tie for third place with Wilson (5-5, 2-3), which beat the Chiefs 14-9 and lost to the Bulldogs 26-25. Since the head-to-head and region matchup tiebreakers won’t settle the 6-4A score, it all comes down to total points allowed between the three-teams. The Chiefs must win and allow 20 or fewer points to take third, and they do after coming off a strong showing last week against Myrtle Beach. … North Myrtle Beach 34, Marlboro County 13.

* Carolina Forest at Socastee: In Region 6-5A, the playoff picture isn’t much clearer but the task for the Panthers (6-1, 3-1) is – just win. That shouldn’t be an issue against the last-place Braves (1-7, 0-4), but they can’t afford to be scoreboard watching the Conway-West Florence winner. A Conway win by 19 points or less would put the Panthers in the cat-bird seat as the No. 1 seed. Anything else earns them the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff game at home. … Carolina Forest 38, Socastee 17.

* Conway at West Florence: The Tigers (3-5, 3-1) can force a three-way tie atop the standings with Carolina Forest (6-1, 3-1) and West Florence (8-1, 4-0) with a win over the Knights. Conway’s defense needs to come up with a big game to stop all-state running back Ailym Ford to make it happen, but they need to beat the Knights by at least 20 points to earn the No. 1 seed. The Tigers are assured the No. 3 seed in Region 6-5A even if they lose this one. … West Florence 28, Conway 27.

* South Florence at St. James: It’s safe to say that fans of the Sharks (1-7, 1-3) weren’t making playoff plans at this time last week, but a win over rival Socastee has St. James poised to steal the fourth and final spot in the postseason with a win over the Bruins (4-5, 1-3). That would be a major feat in itself for first-year coach Tommy Norwood as his team appears to be playing its best ball at the right time. … South Florence 24, St. James 21.

Last week 3-1; overall 30-6

Photo by Janet Morgan/myhorrynews

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