The thought of spending his senior season in a walking boot wasn’t going to cut it for Lawson Cribb.
“(My ankle) just doesn’t seem to want to get right,” said the Myrtle Beach senior quarterback earlier this week. “But sometimes you have to fight through it, and keep pushing.”
If there is anything Cribb has learned during his time in the green and gold, it is the ability to fight.
Despite missing two games this season due a high ankle sprain, Cribb has thrown for 1,687 yards and 13 touchdowns. In fact, over the course of the past two years no player on the Grand Strand has been more prolific, throwing for nearly 4,500 yards and 35 scores.
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“I think the biggest thing with him is he’s just a smart kid,” said Myrtle Beach football coach Mickey Wilson. “He isn’t the biggest kid nor the fastest, and he doesn’t have the biggest arm. But he makes good decisions for us and he knows the offense as good as the coaches because he has been in the system for so long. If he does make a mistake, he knows what he did wrong.”
That wasn’t always the case, however.
Cribb vividly recalls his first start at the varsity level, a 2014 Lower State 3A semifinal matchup with Marlboro County. Third on the depth chart coming into the season, he was forced into duty following injuries to starter Drayton Arnold and backup Jake Deskins.
It was a night Cribb would remember for all the wrong reasons, completing eight passes for 78 yards while throwing three interceptions. As a result, Myrtle Beach fell to the Bulldogs 42-17.
“That was a rough one for sure,” he said. “… It was a crazy time, being a freshman. (Marlboro County) was a good team. I just remember getting hit a lot, throwing a lot of interceptions, getting hit and trying to make tackles.”
“I just remember coming to the sideline in that game and (Myrtle Beach coaches) asking me, ‘What are you seeing out there?’ And I told them, ‘It looks like there are 20 people on the field.’”
Cribb would rarely see game action the following season, as Arnold navigated the Seahawks to a Region 7-3A title and berth in the Lower State 3A final against Midland Valley. His time on the field would certainly change his junior year, though.
He isn’t the biggest kid nor the fastest, and he doesn’t have the biggest arm. But he makes good decisions for us and he knows the offense as good as the coaches.
Myrtle Beach football coach Mickey Wilson
Embroiled in a heated quarterback competition with senior Austin Riggs and talented freshman Luke Doty, it was Cribb who won the job. He would carry that momentum into the regular season, leading Myrtle Beach to wins in each of its first nine games.
Yet for him and the rest of the Seahawks’ locker room, it is the final two games they remember most — particularly a 56-55 loss to Marlboro County. Said Cribb: “Going up there last year and losing by one point … that was rough.”
For that reason, a 62-14 rout of the Bulldogs two weeks ago — on Senior Night, no less — proved rather sweet for Cribb. It also helped somewhat bring his prep career full circle.
“Getting over that hump and beating them at least once (felt good),” he said. “... The game has slowed down a lot (since my freshman year). … I’ve gotten much more comfortable. Your reads become second nature from your freshman to your senior year. I’ve just seen astronomical growth.”
After his days at Myrtle Beach are done, Cribb plans to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and major in mechanical engineering.
“Of course, I want to go into mechanical engineering and work for NASCAR after college,” he said. “They boast a very, very good engineering program. Their offensive scheme is just like ours, but you just can’t compete with their academics.”
Said Wilson: “For him, he’s such a great student-athlete. He’s a guy that really concentrates on his grades, and this is a sure sign of when you do that you get great opportunities to go to Carnegie Mellon and play football. He went to camps at Ivy League schools and got good looks, so this is a good reward for him.”
Still, there is unfinished business for Cribb in a Myrtle Beach uniform.
In the 1980s, his father Buddy was part of a Seahawks dynasty that won four state titles in five seasons under coach Doug Shaw — for whom the school’s football stadium is named. The opportunity to add to his family’s acclaim, along with that of the Myrtle Beach gridiron program is something he isn’t taking lightly.
“It is always fun hearing stories about my dad playing football and winning state championships here,” Cribb said. “Just to be able to hopefully carry that on, and carry the name on with good performances, it means a lot to me and my dad too.”
Myrtle Beach (5-4) at Wilson (6-3)
Time: 7:30 p.m., Thursday
Radio: WYNA-FM 104.9 (Myrtle Beach)
Series record: Myrtle Beach leads 13-2
Of note: The winner of this game takes the No. 2 spot in Region 7-4A. ... After starting the season 1-3, Myrtle Beach has won four of its last five games. The Seahawks have scored 135 points in their last two contests. ... Wilson has clinched its first winning season since 2011. ... Wake Forest commit Zion Keith has nearly 500 receiving yards over the past two weeks.
Favorite: Myrtle Beach