It took Scott Earley the large part of a decade, but the rebuilding of Myrtle Beach's once- and once-again-proud football program is now complete.
The Seahawks are coming off back-to-back 10-win seasons and have become a regular in the Class AAA rankings. But success breeds higher expectations and this program has but three straight losses in the Lower State semifinals to show for its resurgence.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
``We need to stay healthy, humble and get lucky,'' said Earley, describing the mix he believes will help the Seahawks atone for past playoff disappointments.
Although the most-talented class of seniors in the Earley era was lost to graduation, the Seahawks have reloaded, a sign this program may have long-term staying power. Questionsin the trenches haunted Myrtle Beach throughout the 2007 preseason, but an offensive line that returns three starters and a defensive line that returns two starters and two more contributors have alleviated those concerns.
``We should be good up front on both sides,'' said senior defensive end Matt Smith, who led the state with 19 sacks last season.
``We lost a lot of leadership, but we still have the skill on the field. We feel like we are a little bit better [across the board]. Everybody is going to play a part this year.''
The Seahawks will have 11 new starters _ the most obvious gaps to fill are at linebacker and receiver _ but many of the ``new'' guys played a role in the team's 12-1 campaign last season and are expected to make a seamless transition into the starting lineup.
Most of the attention, however, will fall on the shoulders of sophomore quarterback Everett Golson, who will look for an encore to his 2,765-yard, 35-touchdown performance in 2007.
``We are going to give him a little more freedom,'' Earley said. ``It's night and day how prepared he is [compared to last season]. It's also night and day of the understanding of what he's expected to do. Last year, he didn't have any pressure really.''
Now there is pressure to lead Seahawks football to the same height he led the basketball team to last season _ a state title.