High School Football

Myrtle Beach football: Morgan Byrd the glue in Seahawks' potent offense

The high-octane Myrtle Beach offense needed someone to fill in at one of its receiver positions during last week's Lower State Class AAA championship game after Jaquan Wilson went down with some minor dings.

And there was little hesitation on who coach Mickey Wilson would plug into the spot.

Morgan Byrd, the Seahawks' glue guy, was right there to fill the hole.

"He's pretty much played every receiver position we have," Wilson said this week while his team prepares for Saturday's state title defense. "He can play the X; he can play the slot; he can play the Z. ... [Against Marlboro County] we grabbed Morgan and said 'Go play Z.' He hadn't played it all year, but he can do that. He's just such a versatile kid for us. And in our offense, you need a kid like that who can do a little bit of everything."

And that doesn't just mean catching passes.

The senior splits time at receiver, running back, punt and kickoff returner and defensive back, as well as taking snaps in Myrtle Beach's "Rhino" package, a running formation similar to the recently popularized Wildcat schemes.

In 111 carries, he's tallied 709 yards and 20 touchdowns. Receiving, Byrd had 17 catches for 252 yards and four scores.

Tack on another 223 yards via punt and kickoff returns, and you've got a player with nearly 1,200 total yards this season. You've also got a guy who loves all that diversity after playing only quarterback during his time on the JV team two years ago.

"I've just always been doing a lot of different things," Byrd said. "Playing some safety, some corner on defense. I really enjoy being able to do a lot of different things. It keeps things new each week. There's always something a little different."

The only lack of diversity in the situation comes when you ask teammates to describe what Byrd means to the team.

They rattle off his positions, doing their best to remember all of them.

"Morgan is a tremendous asset to the team," quarterback Everett Golson said. "He brings a lot to the table. He can do anything - kickoff, defense, whatever you want him to do. He's just that all-around player."

Said receiver Donte Sumpter: "He's unique in what he does. He brings that intensity to the team. He's a leader, as far as quarterback, running back, receiver, punt return, kick return. He does a lot. All that together just creates something."

That something spawned out of Byrd's JV days at quarterback, when the coaching staff used plenty of option. They noticed the running ability was there.

Later, they discovered the ability to catch the ball either out of the backfield or while lined up at receiver were there too. Around the same time, Byrd started returning punts and kicks, spots where he's averaged 17.5 yards per punt return and more than 15 on kickoffs.

Asked if he had to choose just one position to dedicate himself to, Byrd said running back.

"I like to stick my nose in there and go head-on-head with somebody," he said. "I like to think sometimes I can deliver a blow, and if I need to turn on the speed, I can do that, too."

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