SOCASTEE — New coach.
Same old Socastee offense.
The Braves, on the courtesy of a big night from quarterback Hunter Renfrow and running backs Kyle Smith and Delano Walters, ran all over Carolina Forest en route to a 48-20 victory in both teams’ season openers. It was an impressive debut for Socastee first-year coach Doug Illing after a successful 15-year stint in North Carolina.
Illing, who said he was going to at most tweak the triple-option that Socastee has used effectively over the year, didn’t even do that. The Braves attempted just two passes the entire game, and one was wiped out by a penalty.
“Well, we did do some shotgun,” Renfrow said.
Renfrow, who tallied 27 total touchdowns as a junior and piled up plenty of postseason awards, starting off his senior campaign the same way. He went for a 70-yard scoring run in the second quarter, and then added two more rushing touchdowns in the second half. In total, he had 163 yards on just 13 carries.
Smith wouldn’t have been a bad fantasy option himself.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound back had three touchdowns of his own on 120 rushing yards. Walters added 90 yards on the ground. It was the kind of performance the Braves were hoping for after winning a school-record 12 games last season and advanced to the third round of the Class AAA playoffs.
After the year, then-coach Tim Renfrow returned to his role as the school’s athletics director. Just a few short months later, the Braves hired Illing.
Meanwhile, a Carolina Forest team that entered 2013 with so much promise showed some of the same problems that plagued it during last year’s 3-8 season. The Panthers led early on. However, coach Drew Hummel’s team committed 11 penalties for 95 yards, had a player ejected late for throwing a punch and committed three turnovers, all Will Brunson interceptions.
“That was huge,” Carolina Forest coach Drew Hummel said. “We moved the ball. We get exactly what we wanted. Turnovers hurt us. But we’ve got to get some stops.”
Said Illing: “We’re being good at what we are, at what we do,” Illing said. “Tonight, we were really good. We executed in all phases. … Our defense stepped up in the second half and made it tough on them.”
Socastee’s penchant for big plays – three of the Braves’ touchdowns came from 28 yards out or further – more than outdid Carolina Forest’s best offense early.
Brunson hit Kyle Belack with a 39-yard scoring strike, and the quarterback also hooked up with tight end Ryan Yuracheck five times for 82 yards. Brunson also finished with 202 yards through the air.
Socastee, however, was just too good at what it’s done best over the last decade.
“It ain’t about me. It’s about those kids,” Illing said. “They’ve worked hard this summer. They went through a lot of adversity in the spring losing their coach. I’m just trying to keep the ball rolling.”
CF – Napier Armstrong 6 run (kick failed)
SOC – Hunter Renfrow 70 run (Matt Trimby kick)
CF – Kyle Belack 39 rec from Will Brunson (Belack kick)
SOC – Kyle Smith 1 run (Trimby kick)
SOC – Smith 59 run (Trimby kick)
SOC – Smith 1 run (Trimby kick)
CF – Napier Armstrong 3 run (Belack kick)
SOC – Renfrow 28 run (Trimby kick)
SOC – Renfrow 6 run (kick failed)
SOC – Buck Bacot 2 run (Trimby kick)
Rushing: CF – Napier Armstrong 11-71; Jharian Davis 12-71; Will Brunson 5-17. SOC – Hunter Renfrow 13-163; Delano Walters 10-90; Kyle Smith 17-120; Keyon Clora 3-7; Angelo Sauter 1-3; Buck Bacot 2-3; Jordan Hodge 2-11. Passing: CF – Brunson 12-19-3, 202 yards. Soc – Renfrow 0-1-0, 0 yards. Receiving: CF – Kyle Belack 3-86; Ryan Yurachek 5-82; Zavier Jones 2-21; Khalil Brantley 1-15, . Soc – None. Contact IAN GUERIN at firstname.lastname@example.org.