Doug Shaw Stadium will have a significantly different look when Myrtle Beach faithful file into the facility next fall.
Work will begin in January on $5 million worth in upgrades to the stadium, jointly owned by the city of Myrtle Beach and the Horry County School District.
Completed in 1968, the multipurpose facility houses the Myrtle Beach High School football, soccer and track and field programs. The planned upgrades are the first in a decade for the venerable stadium.
Upgrades to Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium will include a new press box, locker rooms, restrooms and grandstand seating. The playing surface will be blessed with a new artificial surface, while an all-weather rubberized track — along with the installation of sprint lanes on the home side of the stadium — will be installed. Approximately 1,000 seats will also be added on the visitors’ side of the stadium.
Work is expected to be completed prior to kickoff of the 2017 prep football season.
“The original improvements to Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium 10 years ago made it a first-rate facility for track and field events, as well as football and soccer,” said Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes in a prepared statement. “We are excited about this $5 million project to provide even better facilities for athletes, to expand the total seating and to keep our track and field in top condition.”
The upgrades include a new press box, locker rooms, restrooms and grandstand seating. The playing surface will be blessed with a new artificial surface, while an all-weather rubberized track — along with the installation of sprint lanes on the home side of the stadium — will be installed.
Approximately 1,000 seats will also be added on the visitors’ side of the stadium.
To make way for construction crews, events held at Doug Shaw Stadium such as the Coach ‘O’ Invitational hosted by Coastal Carolina University and the Alan Connie Shamrock Invitational track and field meets were moved.
Myrtle Beach High winter and spring activities typically hosted at the facility also are affected by the renovation project.
The Seahawks’ track and field teams will find themselves on the road all season. Myrtle Beach’s soccer programs will play their entire non-region schedule on the road, but will use Ashley Booth Field for Region VII-4A contests.
A bevy of other decisions are still to come, with many more changes possible in terms of how the school’s athletic teams will compete during the winter and spring sessions.
“There are still many decisions that we are expecting in coming weeks,” said Myrtle Beach High athletic director John Cahill. “Fortunately, we have somewhat of an idea. It will cause some moving around and inconvenience for some, but once done it will be quite the upgrade for our athletic programs and the city of Myrtle Beach.”
McAfee eases into role as Carolina Forest’s feature back
Having spent significant time together during their time at Carolina Forest High School, few had more confidence in running back Anthony McAfee than teammate Dyverse Simmons.
(McAfee) has worked hard and has put the work in,” Simmons said. “I know he’s going to do well. He’s ready.”
Given the opportunity to shoulder the load in the Panthers’ backfield due to a season-ending injury to Simmons, McAfee made quite the impression in his first start this past week against rival Myrtle Beach. On 18 carries, the Carolina Forest senior rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown in the game.
I feel whoever we put back there can do well. It’s not much me, it’s a team effort. Offensive line did a great job, play calling was excellent … that was a big part of our success.
Carolina Forest running back Anthony McAfee
Hitting holes and making Seahawks tacklers miss, McAfee said things came rather naturally to him, despite getting only 16 total carries in his team’s first three games.
“No, I didn’t feel any pressure to be honest,” he said. “I felt confident in our offensive line, because you know that’s a good (Myrtle Beach) group up front. I am really confident running behind them, and everything fell right into place.”
By no means was Carolina Forest head coach Marc Morris going to ask McAfee to be Simmons, the star running back having gained more than 500 yards and three touchdowns before going down with a torn ACL. But in emphasizing the team’s “next man up” approach, the Panthers’ head man also had extreme confidence in him, believing whoever was put in the backfield could have success.
Following Friday’s game, McAfee could not agree more.
“I feel whoever we put back there can do well,” he said. “It’s not much me, it’s a team effort. Offensive line did a great job, play calling was excellent … that was a big part of our success.”
Conway Tigers standouts set scattered tracks on recruiting trail
A rare Friday night out of the spotlight, several Conway players took advantage of the opportunity to probe college campuses.
Seven Tigers soaked in the Saturday college football experience this past week. A large portion made their way to Death Valley for Clemson’s tilt with S.C. State, while others were at Appalachian State, North Carolina and South Carolina.
“It really worked well because it was a bye week, and we were off Friday night,” said Conway junior offensive lineman Gunner Britton. “After most games, we don’t get home till 11 p.m. or midnight. You’re tired and fatigued and then have to wake up early the next morning and get on the road. It really helped not being tired for once (going on a college visit).”
Britton was the lone representative of the Tigers in Columbia, taking in the Gamecocks’ 20-15 victory over East Carolina. According to Britton, the visit went well.
“It was really cool seeing the campus; it is really beautiful,” he said. “I’ve always been a Carolina fan, so watching the fans at the stadium waving their white towels, the team coming out of the fog to ‘2001,’ it was an awesome experience.”
Having already walked through the recruiting experience with his two older brothers, little about the trip came as a surprise to him. The opportunity to speak with South Carolina assistant coach Shawn Elliott was a poignant moment, though, giving him an idea — and motivation — of what he must do during his last two years at Conway.
“(Elliott) introduced himself and said he would be watching me,” Britton said. “Honestly, I’d play wherever they wanted me.
“… Among the things I want to get down pat is my footwork, as I already believe I am aggressive enough to play at that level. Getting my technique better will also help.”
While Britton was soaking things in at Williams-Brice Stadium, four of his teammates were a few hours up the road in Clemson, giving a closer look to another breed of Tigers.
It really worked well because it was a bye week, and we were off Friday night. After most games, we don’t get home till 11 p.m. or midnight. You’re tired and fatigued and then have to wake up early the next morning and get on the road. It really helped not being tired for once (going on a college visit).
Conway offensive lineman Gunner Britton
Juniors Willie Brantley, Antonio Long, Keith Autry Benton and Tysheem Best made the trip together last weekend, an experience that made the weekend all the more memorable.
“It was amazing, man … having your teammates with you, having the same experience as you is amazing,” Brantley said. “We had a lot of fun.”
The team’s leading tackler Raiqwon O’Neal is also getting attention for his solid work, taking a trip to Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina last Saturday.
“What appealed most to me was how the student section and band was all on the same page with cheering and spelling out the words,” O’Neal said of the gameday experience.
Each of those taking visits last weekend expect to take more visits this season.
One of those not likely to take too many more trips is quarterback Peyton Derrick, a solid Appalachian State commit. He was in Boone, N.C., last Saturday to take in the Mountaineers’ tilt with Miami (Fla.).
HTC Game of the Week
Horry County’s top rivalry will receive its appropriate space in the spotlight Friday night, as the HTC Game of the Week will travel to “The Backyard” as Myrtle Beach visits Conway for the annual Battle for the Victory Bell.
The game will be broadcast live on HTC Channel 4 and online at HTCConnect.com.
Coverage of the game will begin at 7:15 p.m., with kickoff 15 minutes later. It will then rebroadcast twice Monday at 2 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Myrtle Beach rules the pool for second weekend in a row
Lightning can’t possibly strike twice, can it?
Able to leave Georgetown last weekend with wins by both its boys and girls teams, Myrtle Beach swim coach Michael Angwin merely wanted to see progress from his team, particularly with region and state meets right around the corner.
It was almost a certainty his teams would be prepared to compete at Saturday’s Socastee Invitational, held at the Coastal Carolina Aquatic Center. What Angwin didn’t necessarily anticipate was how good the Seahawks swim squads would fare.
For the second consecutive week, both Myrtle Beach swim squads left a meet with top honors, claiming the Socastee Invitational titles.
“It was just a great day overall,” Angwin said. “The day was defined by clean races … we had no disqualifications. In honesty, the past couple of weeks have been close in part because of disqualifications. But to make sure we didn’t do anything to hurt ourselves, it really helped us rack up the points.”
The Seahawks boys swim squad ran away with its competition, winning five events and racking up 244 total points.
It was really enjoyable watching what they were able to do (Saturday). I think it wasn’t just because we were able to win points here and there, but because they were able to dominate.
Myrtle Beach swim coach Michael Angwin
As he’s done on many occasions, Isiaah Ivey led the way for Myrtle Beach, claiming gold in the 100-yard freestyle and backstroke events. Yianni Paraschos also earned individual gold, doing so in the 200-yard freestyle.
The Seahawks also picked up top honors in the 200-yard medley and freestyle relays.
“They really smoked competition,” Angwin said. “Their depth really showed, and we were able to do a lot of great things.”
Competition was a tad closer on the girls’ side, Myrtle Beach earning 229 points — enough to hold off second place West Florence.
“It was really enjoyable watching what they were able to do (Saturday),” Angwin said. “I think it wasn’t just because we were able to win points here and there, but because they were able to dominate.”
Kennedy Drew led the way for the Seahawks, claiming top honors in the 100-yard butterfly and freestyle events. Others earning gold include Danielle Flaherty in the 200-yard individual medley; Catherine Miller in the 500-yard freestyle; and Olivia McGonical in the 100-yard backstroke.
The Myrtle Beach girls squad also won the 200-yard medley and freestyle relays.
Twelve schools were represented at the event. In addition to Myrtle Beach’s overall wins, a bevy of other Grand Strand swimmers also had solid showing at the Saturday’s Socastee Invitational:
▪ Waccamaw’s Emma Sullivan took home top honors in the girls’ 200-yard freestyle, winning it in 2:06;
▪ Casey Mitchell of St. James claimed gold in the boys 100-yard backstroke, with a time of 1:07. He also won the 200-yard individual medley, earning top honors in 2:09;
▪ John Grey Crosby of Waccamaw won the boys 50-yard freestyle in 23.4 seconds;
▪ Sean King of Waccamaw earned the boys 100-yard butterfly, tapping the wall first with a time of 57.5;
▪ Ethan M. Nechemia won the boys 500-yard freestyle, doing so in 5:29.