Toast of the Coast

Toast of the Coast: Grate makes most of senior season with St. James soccer team

Having done what he needed to help secure his soccer career, Quadarius Grate made a move to help his friends.

The St. James senior returned from a year with the elite South Carolina United Battery Academy team to play for his high school. In doing so, he led the Sharks to their best season in program history and developed into the The Sun News’ Toast of the Coast Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

“I went there to get my college looks. That happened, so why not come back and try to lead St. James to a state championship?” said Grate, who signed with Coker. “It was hard to quit the Academy. It was a really high level of soccer. I was always challenged. But I made the decision to play high school soccer. I felt like I owed certain kids.”

His teammates helped him cash in.

St. James, which had never won more than a single playoff game in a season and had just three postseason victories in its first 11 seasons of varsity ball combined, won four games in the Class AAA tournament. The Lower State championship over Myrtle Beach earned the Sharks their first trip to the state title match.

At the front of it all was Grate.

He scored 30 goals and added nine assists, numbers that not only led the Grand Strand but accounted for roughly half of the team’s offensive production.

“I knew he had the potential. It was really if he was determined,” coach Drew Pavy said. “He bailed us out so many times this year. Not only scoring against lower-ranked teams, but when we really needed them.”

In helping St. James to three wins over region champion Myrtle Beach – once in a preseason tournament, another in the regular season and again in the state semifinals – Grate scored five goals and had two assists. He also had three additional postseason scores, and 18 of his scores came in region contests.

In fact, the only games Pavy’s team failed to win came when opponents somehow found a way to prevent Grate from doing his thing. That didn’t happen often.

“When his intensity was up, he definitely brought the whole team up,” Pavy said. “Other teams started to key on him. We had to move him around to get him open. It helped the team be creative.”

While Pavy tinkered with different ways to keep too many shadows off his star player, he also understood it would have been foolish to completely take Grate out of his element.

After all, even during his freshman and sophomore seasons, the forward was a productive goal scorer. The difference from his last year in a Sharks uniform his senior season, however was visible, both physically and in terms of what he provided.

He went from a solid striker to one who could, and did, take over games.

“People bashed on me a lot for going to the academy,” Grate said. “But I wanted to come back and show them what the academy gave me. I wanted to show them what academy-level players do.”

Contact IAN GUERIN at ian@ianguerin.com.

The team

Player of the Year

Quadarius Grate

▪ School | St. James

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Position | Forward

▪ Notable | The area’s lone Clash of the Carolinas selection was also named to the Class AAA All-State team and the Region VII-AAA Player of the Year after piling up 30 goals and nine assists for the state runner-up Sharks.

Todd Mauney

▪ School | Waccamaw

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Position | Forward

▪ Notable | Class AA All-State selection and North-South All-Star recorded 24 goals and 10 assists for Warriors squad that won a pair of playoff games.

Maquell Bellamy

▪ School | Loris

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Position | Forward

▪ Notable | Francis Marion signee and Class AA All-State selection scored 17 goals and added 10 assists in 16 games for Lions team that advanced to second round of state playoffs.

Aldopho Aguilar

▪ School | Myrtle Beach

▪ Class | Junior

▪ Position | Forward

▪ Notable | Class AAA All-State and first-team All-Region VII-AAA selection led region champion Myrtle Beach with 22 goals while adding six assists.

Chris Matlashewski

▪ School | Socastee

▪ Class | Freshman

▪ Position | Forward

▪ Notable | Scored 24 goals, tied for second in the area, while adding six assists in leading the Braves to the third round of the state playoffs in first year back in Class AAAA.

Jake Perito

▪ School | Socastee

▪ Class | Junior

▪ Position | Midfielder

▪ Notable | Center midfielder and Region VI-AAAA Player of the Year recorded 12 goals and seven assists in helping the Braves to the Lower State semifinals.

Brandon Harrington

▪ School | Myrtle Beach

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Position | Midfielder/defender

▪ Notable | North-South All-Star helped Seahawks to Region VII-AAA championship and Lower State title match by scoring six goals and adding seven assists.

Zac Benton

▪ School | Waccamaw

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Position | Defender

▪ Notable | Led Warriors to 14 shutouts and the Lower State semifinals while being named to the Class AA All-State and All-Region VIII-AA first team.

Joey Simpson

▪ School | St. James

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Position | Defender

▪ Notable | Class AAA All-State selection was a key component in posting 17 total shutouts. Named to the North-South All-Star roster and was a first-team All-Region VII-AAA honoree.

Chance Smith

▪ School | North Myrtle Beach

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Position | Defender

▪ Notable | Center back scored a goal and added three assists while anchoring the defensive side of the field for the the playoff-qualifying Chiefs.

Haywood Brandon

▪ School | St. James

▪ Class | Senior

▪ Position | Goalkeeper

▪ Notable | Helped Sharks to the Class AAA state championship game after allowing only 15 goals during the regular season, an average of 0.67 goals per game, both school records.

Coach of the Year

Drew Pavy

▪ School | St. James

▪ Notable | Sharks alum and former on-field standout led the team to the Lower State title and a state runner-up finish in his second year leading the program. Team won more playoff games this spring than first 11 seasons as varsity program combined.

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