High School Football

Memories of Byrnes beatdown haunt Myrtle Beach players

Most of the Myrtle Beach starters were already out of last Friday's blowout victory over Carolina Forest when some minds started drifting.

The topic was clear.

Byrnes.

The Rebels, the Seahawks' opponent Friday, delivered a hurting in the Upstate when the two teams met last season. Myrtle Beach would love nothing more than to flip the final result Friday at Doug Shaw Stadium.

"Did we learn some things? Absolutely. But I don't think revenge comes into play," Seahawks coach Mickey Wilson said this week. "If we play great, and they play bad, we could get a victory."

Byrnes (0-1) isn't receiving the respect it has in recent years. With a number of players - including standout tailback Marcus Lattimore (now at South Carolina) - off to the NCAA Division-I ranks, the Rebels are clearly not the same team they were last season.

It showed Saturday when Byrnes was shut out 14-0 by Hoover, a team in the top 10 ofseveral national rankings. It wasn't easy for Byrnes, which was playing without a trio of receivers because of injuries and suspensions, according to the Spartanburg Herald Journal.

It was the first time Byrnes was shut out in 11 years.

Myrtle Beach's opener couldn't have been more opposite. The Seahawks (1-0) slammed Carolina Forest from start to finish en route to a 63-6 win.

Then again, few are going to confuse Carolina Forest with Byrnes.

Between that and the memories of last year's 65-14 debacle, the Seahawks are taking this week as serious as any nonconference game in recent memory.

"The bus ride home was silent," offensive lineman Jason Rexroad said. "We thought we were a much better team. There were a bunch of sad, angry faces."

To return the favor to Byrnes won't be an easy task. Wilson said his team will need to play near perfect while the Rebels might need to have an off night for the Seahawks to win the game.

Could Myrtle Beach, under the right circumstances, win big?

"Oh, lord. I don't know if we can do that," Wilson said. "I don't foresee us blowing them out by any stretch of the imagination.

"They're the elite program in our state, without a doubt."

As proof of that, Myrtle Beach players were able to get a head start on scouting the Rebels on Saturday. That game against Hoover was nationally televised on ESPN, a tribute to Byrnes' notoriety in the football landscape.

Coach Chris Miller's team is a regular on ESPN and FOX Sports, often showing off some talented players who, come the following fall, can be found contributing in the SEC, ACC and other major conferences.

Myrtle Beach tailback Daiquone Ford said he stumbled upon the game while flipping through channels on his day off. As for what he saw, it was further indication to take this week seriously.

"We know that Hoover was a great team, so we don't really downgrade [Byrnes] for that," Ford said. "We know they're probably going to be pumped up to get that score on us that they didn't get on Hoover."

Many believe the game will come down to whichever team is able to get off to a fast start. Last year, it was Byrnes that led by three touchdowns less than halfway through the opening quarter.

Regardless, both offenses have the ability to light up a scoreboard in a hurry.

That knowledge has had Myrtle Beach on its toes all week during practice. Any slip and the Seahawks could feel the embarrassment they still remember all too well from last year.

"This year's team, we really want a chance to redeem ourselves," Rexroad said. "Last year, we didn't do what we were supposed to do.

"The main thing that has been present has been focus. It's been all about focus and doing the little things right and be paranoid. ... We think if we play to the best of our ability, we can play with this Byrnes team."

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