Prep notebook: Myrtle Beach-Conway football rivalry continues year after instant classic

For The Sun NewsSeptember 23, 2013 

CNB Kickoff Classic lunch

Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson is 3-1 against his alma mater, Conway.

FILE PHOTO BY CHARLES SLATE — cslate@thesunnews.com Buy Photo

Myrtle Beach’s 56-55 win over Conway in 2012’s version of the Battle for the Victory Bell was as memorable as just about any in the rivalry.

The teams scored 77 combined points in the second and third quarters alone. Then-Seahawk quarterback Tyler Keane threw for 519 yards and a state record-tying eight touchdown passes, while three of his receivers had 100-yard performances. Conway quarterback Mykal Moody also had a huge game. The then-senior combined to put up more than 300 yards of offense and five touchdowns.

People who were there still talk about it, as well as where it measures up to some of the area’s all-time best games. So, is there any possible way Friday’s game between the two schools – the 44th meeting between Conway and Myrtle Beach – matches last year’s excitement?

“That’s a tough question,” Seahawks coach Mickey Wilson said. “Last year was one of those games you see on ESPN, an instant classic where they show it again the next day. There have been some really good games, some really close games. I said it before last years’ game; I think you can pretty much throw the records out the window.”

Wilson went on to say that’s probably not a bad idea this time around.

Myrtle Beach (1-3) is off to its worst start since 1999, when the Seahawks finished the season with just one victory. Conway (1-4) hasn’t started this slow since the 1989 strike season.

Both teams have dealt with a rash of missing players and inexperience, and that could show this Friday when the teams meet again.

It appears the Tigers will once again be without regular running backs Cortez Brown and DeAndre Hickman (suspensions). Additionally, sophomore Bryan Edwards will likely miss Friday’s game after he was ejected for throwing a punch in the team’s loss to Marlboro County last week.

Conway coach Chuck Jordan has appealed Edwards’ automatic one-game suspension to the South Carolina High School League. If that suspension is overturned, Jordan said he would not announce it prior to this week’s kickoff.

Edwards is not only one of the top receivers on the Grand Strand, he’s also one of the few returning players who had a significant impact in last season’s Victory Bell game. He caught two touchdowns in the contest.

There will likely be some absences from the Myrtle Beach starting lineup, too. The Seahawks could again be without starting quarterback Drayton Arnold (concussion). The sophomore was injured against South Florence and did not play in last week’s loss to Carolina Forest.

The Seahawks could also be without starting middle linebacker Marcus Chestnut (knee) and starting defensive lineman Markyl Grissett (shoulder), a pair of impact players who have each missed at least two games this season.

With or without those players, though, Jordan said this game still has plenty of meaning for both teams.

“The truth of the matter is this game is no less important than any other year, but for different reasons,” he said. “Obviously we’re struggling. We’re both trying to get on the right side of that struggle.

“It’s going to be hard to match that game last year. That was one for the ages. I don’t know that we or they are as capable offensively.”

Wilson is 3-1 against his alma mater, while Jordan is a stout 21-7 against Myrtle Beach. Jordan has faced the Seahawks in all but two of his 31 seasons as the team’s coach, with exceptions in 2000 and 2001.

Conway’s lead all time in the series stands at 32-11.

Georgetown running game takes blows

Bradley Adams’ team went from really good shape to an uphill climb in a hurry.

The Georgetown coach lost his first game of 2013 on Friday when the Bulldogs fell at home against county rival Carvers Bay. The news then got worse.

Adams discovered Saturday morning that starting tailback Michael Billings – who has rushed for 491 yards and seven touchdowns this season – will miss at least six weeks after suffering a fracture in his right foot. Billings, fourth in the area in rushing yards, also had a receiving touchdown.

The bad news didn’t stop there.

Adams also lost backup running back Daquan Gibson (21 carries, 191 yards, one touchdown) to a knee injury. Fellow backup running back Jordan Ward, who is also the team’s top defensive player, returned to the field after missing two weeks and made 20 total tackles. However, Adams said Ward was “hobbling” after Friday’s loss and won’t know his status moving forward until later this week.

Georgetown (3-1) will play its final non-region game of the season Friday at Loris. The Lions have allowed just 9.75 points per game in four contests this season and are coming off their bye week.

St. James’ Anderson selected to all-star spot

St. James wrestling coach Matt Anderson will be one of the coaches for the South Carolina Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic in March, the school announced Monday.

Anderson, who has coached several wrestlers to individual state titles – including three in 2012 alone – also led two of his last three teams to the Class AAA Lower State finals.

The seventh-year Sharks coach will be partially responsible for picking the 2013-2014 all-star teams. The event will be held March 5-8, 2014 at North Myrtle Beach.

Contact IAN GUERIN at ian@ianguerin.com.

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