High School Football

Injury to Everett Golson puts Mitch Campbell in Myrtle Beach Seahawks' spotlight

Mitch Campbell can't help but feel a little like the character Mox from the 1999 MTV movie "Varsity Blues."

Like actor James Van Der Beek's role in the film, Campbell - the Myrtle Beach backup quarterback - finds himself in the spotlight as the starter because of an injury to the team's standout.

The only problem for the Seahawks senior is that the emotion tied to this real-life situation isn't downplayed by Hollywood's lowest-common denominator. Everett Golson is out at least two weeks, and maybe more, while he recovers from injuries to his left foot and left hand.

In the meantime, all eyes will be on Campbell.

"It's bittersweet. Seeing Everett go down is just rough," Campbell said. "There's a little change of attitude [among classmates]. I've been Everett's backup. Now I'm the quarterback for a couple weeks."

Campbell and Golson are close. They became friends years ago.

But when you play behind someone regarded nationwide as one of the best at his position, opportunities on the field are few and far between. Campbell is the guy that comes in when Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson has seen lead grow beyond the point of comfort.

What Campbell has done in those limited snaps has made many believe he's good enough to start at most other schools in the area.

Take his performance in the Seahawks' first two games of 2010. In the season opener against Carolina Forest, Campbell was inserted into the game immediately after Golson hit the 300-yard passing mark. The backup then completed 8-of-10 passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns in a little more than a quarter before Wilson called off the dogs.

Then, after Golson was hurt just before halftime against Byrnes, the state's most dominant team over the last decade, Campbell was a more-than-respectable 8-of-20 for 128 yards and another scoring pass.

Still, starting and coming off the bench are two different things.

"Mitch is very talented," Wilson said. "He's going to be [in] a little different role now, being the starter. I think that he's got to relax. It is a little different when you're a starter.

"You have to be focused a little bit; it's a little different mentality than coming off the sidelines. But he'll do well. He's very talented, and we're excited - for him - to get this opportunity. It's an unfortunate situation, but he'll do well."

The optimism can, in part, be attributed to the snaps Campbell takes in practice. He doesn't have Golson's arm, but the zip to receivers every day during drills or in that mop-up duty has been proof plenty that he's still more talented than most high school quarterbacks.

Some might ask why Campbell didn't transfer to another school to showcase his talents for college coaches with scholarships to offer.

"I hear it all the time," Campbell said. "But there's nothing like Myrtle Beach, being a Seahawk. We've got it made. ... I just couldn't leave Myrtle Beach. It's out of the question."

That doesn't mean the topic doesn't come up on a weekly basis.

"It's very unfortunate for him," Wilson said of Campbell and Golson being in the same class. "I wish we could redshirt him. Unfortunately you can't do that in high school.

"I even joke around about sending him overseas and bringing him back next year and let him be a senior again."

With that option out, Campbell talks about the opportunity he has. Tonight at home against West Florence and next week at South Florence, he'll be in charge of keeping Myrtle Beach's high-octane offense at the same level it's been accustomed to the last few years.Although Campbell's focus is team first, he's not above hoping his time in the spotlight is noticed and might lead to an extension of his quarterbacking days at the next level. He hopes to earn a spot on a small-college team searching for a quality player with a penchant for running the spread offense.

He's already received loads of advice and encouragement from Golson, Wilson and the rest of the team. He's also already broken down his two quarters behind center from the Byrnes loss and seen where he needs to improve.

All that's left for him to do is make the most of an otherwise delicate situation.

"It's a great opportunity for me," he said. "This is what I've been waiting for. There's nothing like being a quarterback at Myrtle Beach."