Week 5 Preview and Picks: Victory Bell tolls for injured

The Battle for the Victory Bell may sound more like an ambulance siren when the rivalry commences Friday night.

This year’s installment has lost a little luster with both the Conway Tigers (1-4) and Myrtle Beach Seahawks (1-3) suffering through rare, subpar seasons. The second half of the schedule doesn’t look very promising either with many key players on both sides of the ball out or playing with injuries.

The Seahawks look like a band of walking wounded after last week’s painful (in more ways than one) 41-35 loss to winless Carolina Forest. Quarterback Drayton Arnold is out with a concussion and several key positions are without original starters or depth. The defense is getting ripped for 40 points per game.

The Tigers aren’t in much better shape after leading rushers Cortez Brown and Deandre Hickman are top receiver Bryan Edwards are out due to suspensions. Quarterback Ethan Smith will have a limited number of targets available, and the Conway defense also has seen an overhaul because of accumulating injuries.

Last year’s edition of the rivalry was one for the ages – a 56-55 overtime victory by Myrtle Beach. This one could be similarly high-scoring due to the lack of defense, but the offenses may be too limited to take advantage. This one will come down to who makes the least mistakes. … Myrtle Beach 31, Conway 27.

* Carvers Bay at St. James: The feasting Sharks may meet their match against the visiting Bears, who are coming off a big win over previously unbeaten Georgetown. St. James is also coming off a big one.

The Sharks won a 54-48 shootout over Cross last week but will run into a much stauncher defense against Carvers Bay. St. James also will have to roll out a better defense to win this one. … St. James 21, Carvers Bay 20.

* Beaufort at Carolina Forest: The Panthers are coming off a high point after earning their first win of the season and first victory over Myrtle Beach since 2004, but the party doesn’t last very long.

Undefeated Beaufort comes to town on a roll and Carolina Forest doesn’t have the dogs on defense. The Panthers’ lone hope is to keep pace on the scoreboard behind red-hot QB Will Brunson and his increasingly effective receiving corps. … Beaufort 34, Carolina Forest 27.

* Green Sea Floyds at North Myrtle Beach: The undefeated Chiefs are ready to rip into another county rival in hopes of a 5-0 start. The Trojans provide little opposition. … NMB 37, GSF 6.

* Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach at Richard Winn Academy: The Saints got their first victory in school history last week, and the confidence that comes with it. … CAMB 41, RWA 31.

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