Area football coaches and players have found they can simultaneously love and loathe the rain that has hit the Grand Strand for the past few days.
On one hand, the cooler temperatures have taken some of the normal bite out of the first few days of practice for teams that can actually conduct their drills outside. On the other, be it out of fear of injury or added damage to water-logged fields, most teams have been forced to hold at least one practice indoors.
Teams are required by the South Carolina High School League to have four practices prior to full-contact drills. That means team rarely cancel outright and gyms are getting used as much as the opening days of basketball practices.
“We’ll probably get a lot stronger because we’ll be lifting,” Aynor senior Kamron Johnson said. “He’ll run us more and we’ll be in better shape.”
Aynor was able to get outside Monday morning, but with more rain expected throughout the week, the first week of practices could be heavily altered. That includes teams’ first preseason action against opposing schools.
Most area teams have already released their scrimmage schedules, and many will be in action Friday.
Georgetown will return home from its annual camp at Grace Christian in Loris on Friday before playing at home against Darlington.
Waccamaw, which is also spending the majority of this week at Camp Pee Dee in Bennettsville, has three scrimmages, all on the road. The Warriors head to Cheraw on Friday, Johnsonville next Tuesday and then play Socastee in the CNB Kickoff Classic on Aug. 15 at Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach will head to Loris on Friday and Wando on Aug. 12 before playing Aynor in the CNB. St. James will be at Aynor this Friday.
Carolina Forest and first-year head coach Marc Morris will have just two days dedicated to full-pad scrimmages. The Panthers will host Georgetown, Timberland and Hemingway on Aug. 12 and then face Loris in the CNB.
In addition to playing North Myrtle Beach in the CNB, Conway will also scrimmage Ashley Ridge at home Friday and head to Stratford on Aug. 12.
Football rosters/all sports schedules
Area coaches who have yet to do so are asked to submit their football rosters by 5 p.m. Tuesday. They can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Athletics directors who have yet to do so are also asked to submit their schedules for all fall sports to email@example.com.
NMB volleyball coach planning for future
Erica Allman’s coaching chops are going to be put to the test again.
The second-year North Myrtle Beach volleyball coach will be attempting to put the right pieces in place to make another deep playoff run after significant losses. Allman will no longer have the services of Marci Chestnut, last season’s Region VII-AAA player of the year, or Ellen Johnson. Both players were named to the North-South All-Star Volleyball matches.
More importantly, they led the Chiefs back to the Class AAA state championship match and a 21-3 overall record a year after North Myrtle Beach won the whole thing.
This season, that type of performance would be a surprise to even Allman.
“It’s going to be a young group this year,” she said. “We’re definitely in the rebuilding stages of North Myrtle Beach, for sure.”
If the Chiefs do hit a snag in 2014, don’t expect it to be a long-term one.
Allman, a North Myrtle Beach graduate, has re-planted her roots into the area after playing at Columbia College. Upon her return in 2013, she started an eight-week youth league for players in third-sixth grades. Roughly half of the 50 participants from her camp this past spring are now in the middle of the Chiefs’ two-day tryouts that started Monday. Those tryouts will determine the spots on Allman’s varsity and junior varsity teams.
“Last year, we cut three players altogether in the program,” Allman said. “This year, we’re going to cut 25 or more. I hate to turn girls away and turn them off from the sport, but it’s a great problem to have.”
The ultimate goal, outside of creating a passion for the sport in younger girls, is to stave off some of the rebuilding. After the 2012 team won the state title, five seniors, including three primary starters, graduated. Five more seniors ran out of eligibility after last season’s trip to the finals.
Following this fall, five more will graduate.
“We’ve already got a name for ourselves,” she said. “But I don’t want us to fall off the map.”