Week 3 Previews & Picks: Braves seek MB three-peat

socfoot-34run (2)Having won three Class 3A championships over the past six seasons, the No. 1-ranked Myrtle Beach Seahawks aren’t accustomed to having a losing streak to anybody in the state.

But just 7 miles south, rival Socastee holds that proud distinction, at least for now. Although two is technically the minimum requirement to use the term “streak,” the Braves can capture some serious bragging rights by making it three in a row on Friday night.

Both teams enter the rivalry undefeated, although Socastee has faced one more foe. Both have been tested by teams believed to be below their expected levels but they overcame their struggles to satisfy the bottom line. But the similarities pretty much stop there.

The Seahawks like to air it out, five wides, everybody go deep. But just when you think you have them covered, quarterback Drayton Arnold hands off to Brandon Sinclair and it’s a game of Catch 22 (because that’s his number). It’s a matter of picking your poison.

For Socastee, it’s a slow, painful death against the ground-and-pound triple option. If Myrtle Beach is shock and awe, the Braves are trench warfare, last man standing wins. If they can chew up chunks of turf and clock, they can keep the Seahawks’ weapons on the sidelines.

So this matchup of offensive powers could come down to defense, which one csan do the best job of stopping, or at least slowing, the other. The key stat will be turnovers, and Socastee has had a hard time holding onto the ball. Look for the Seahawks’ D to put some pressure on the Braves and defend home turf. … Myrtle Beach 24, Socastee 20.

* Carolina Forest at North Myrtle Beach: Will the real Panthers please stand up? They certainly did in last week’s 49-7 rout of St. James after opening the season with back-to-back blowout losses. Which team shows up to play the Chiefs could decide this one.

Carolina Forest (1-2) has some talent and may be finally starting to put it together under first-year coach Marc Morris. But the Chiefs, who also got out of the gate with an 0-2 start, also seem to be turning the corner under new coach Blair Hardin after defeating West Brunswick (NC) last week.

This one should come down to which team makes fewer mistakes, which team is more physical, and which team fares better against the pass. And if those factors don’t decide it, this one could come down to a field goal, and kicker Christian Buis has proven himself for the Chiefs. … NMB 31, Carolina Forest 28.

* Conway at Hartsville: The season is slipping away quickly for the Tigers (0-3), who face the Red Foxes (3-0), then rival Myrtle Beach, before entering tough region play. Conway needs a big win to get things turned around but there are no easy games ahead. … Hartsville 34, Conway 17.

* Christian Academy at Trinity Byrnes: The Saints celebrated their first-ever victory in 11-man football last week, but they take a big step up in competition against Trinity Byrnes (2-0), which is averaging 47 points per game. … Trinity Byrnes 42, CAMB 21.

Last week: 4-1; Overall 12-4

– Photo by Bill Grammer

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