The high-flying Myrtle Beach Seahawks offense looks to be in mid-season form following its Week One victory over Hanahan behind junior quarterback Luke Doty.
The Seahawks have been a powerhouse offensive attack for much of the last decade under head coach Mickey Wilson. Even breaking in a new quarterback, Wilson had no doubt his team would hit the ground running this season.
“(Luke) has been great for us all summer, coming in from last season,” Wilson said of his new starting quarterback. “He’s been great for our team and has really done the work to get better. Last season, he and Lawson (Cribb) split the reps in practice to make sure they were both ready and healthy. With Luke getting all of the reps, we’ve seen him get even better throughout the spring and summer.”
A key for Doty’s success are the returning stars on offense that Myrtle Beach boasts, from running back Jermani Green to wide receivers Marcus Grissett and Da’Ron Finkley.
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“It really helps any quarterback to have weapons that you can trust on the outside and a strong running game,” Wilson said. “We want to have a balanced attack, we don’t want to make our quarterback have to go out and win a game by himself – we want to have our running game working to hit on some deep passes and really keep the defense honest. Luke did a great job of that (on Friday.)”
One hurdle Wilson has seen for Doty, who has committed to South Carolina, is staying within himself and the offense, rather than trying to take on the entire defense by himself. He did that well against Hanahan, hitting on 12 of 20 passes for 177 yards and three scores.
“He’s super talented and can do everything you want your quarterback to do,” Wilson said. “The biggest thing we’re trying to do is slow him down and let him learn from his mistakes. He’s going a million miles an hour sometimes, and that’s great, but sometimes the play only needs him to go 60 miles an hour to be effective.”
Wilson, who has piled up 97 wins through nine years and one game of season 10, won’t take all of the credit for the success his team has had on offense. Instead, he points to the work being done at the lower levels to prepare the players for the Friday night lights.
“The biggest thing that keeps us ready is our great recreation department here in Myrtle Beach. They are installing our playbooks on offense and defense, teaching our plays to the kids that we use on Friday nights,” Wilson said. “It’s pretty cool to go out to practice with our high schoolers and see the rec league teams practicing the same plays we use on the fields right around where we practice and play.”
The quarterback play for Myrtle Beach has been stellar for much of Wilson’s time from Everett Golson early in his tenure to Tyler Keane, Drayton Arnold, Cribb and now Doty. Scouting and development contribute a lot to it..
“We try to identify the quarterback when they’re in fifth or sixth grade,” Wilson said. “From there, we make sure they have every opportunity to grow in the playbook, experience, and with their skills. We want our guys to be comfortable and ready once it’s their time to play for us up here (at the varsity level.) That’s why we were able to plug in Luke some last year when Lawson was banged up.”
As he closes in on win No. 100 at Myrtle Beach, Wilson reflected on some of the incredible success he’s had and the great players he’s been able to share those experiences with through the years.
“We’ve had some huge wins in the last nine years, beating Byrnes in 2011 to end a 71-game home winning streak comes to mind,” Wilson said. “That game had a long weather delay and ended up finishing around 1 o’clock in the morning, we had to come back and win it in overtime. Beating Hartsville in 2015 (in the Class AAA playoffs) was another big one, being down by two or three scores and coming back to win it on a field goal at the end. Obviously, the state championship games – the two wins and one loss – are big. You remember all of them, really.”
Myrtle Beach (1-0) will hit the road Friday, traveling to Laurens to face the Raiders, who defeated Clinton 34-14 in Week One.