Daiquone Ford may not be the best player on the Myrtle Beach roster, but it's hard to imagine where the Seahawks would be without him.
Ford, a senior tailback, often finds himself as the afterthought of defensive game plans. Opposing teams are worried about Myrtle Beach's wide-open passing attack, be it led by Everett Golson or back-up quarterback Mitch Campbell, and a slew of talented receivers. On Friday against Conway, though, Ford proved once again that forgetting about him will cost you.
Ford ran for 96 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries (an average of six yards per carry). But break down those numbers further and they are even more impressive.
Of Ford's 16 carries, six went for a first down. He also took two screen passes 15 and 23 yards, respectively, to dramatically decrease long-yardage situations.
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Campbell, who started Friday, said Ford's measurable contributions have as much of an indirect effect as direct.
"It's a great thing to have because it opens up the throwing lanes," Campbell said. "Having Daiquone is a threat, and it opens it up downfield. It's just great to have a back like Daiquone."
Coach Mickey Wilson was quick to point out how well his offensive line played in terms of run blocking, but he also recognized the boost Ford gave the Seahawks.
"He's really put us on his shoulders," Wilson said Friday night. "He's done a great job of carrying the load."
No team in the area would make bigger waves with a win this week than Aynor.
The Blue Jackets, coming off disappointing back-to-back losses to Johnsonville and Hilton Head Prep, will play host to Dillon this week. The Wildcats will likely be the best team Aynor plays this season.
Dillon, the top-ranked team in the Class AA S.C. Prep Writers' Poll, is not only 5-0, but it is winning games in dominating fashion. The average score of Wildcats games this fall has been 35-4. That average includes two shutouts, and no opponent has scored more than seven points against Dillon. Their victims include Cheraw (35-7), Wilson (35-7) and Marlboro County (27-6).
It's the Region VIII-AA opener for both teams.
Do or die?
If Green Sea Floyds wants to make the playoffs in 2010, it better have a sense of urgency.
On Friday, the Trojans travel to Johnsonville to take on the current leader in Region VIII-A. Green Sea Floyds almost has to have a win in this one, because the schedule doesn't get any easier. The Trojans (3-3, 1-1) still have Carvers Bay (Oct. 8) and Hemingway (Oct. 22) on the slate.
Eight of the 14 teams in the Class A, Division I Lower State field make the playoffs.
Speaking of playoffs
Two area teams that had poor non-region showings get their first chance to make up for lost time Friday night when North Myrtle Beach (0-5) heads to Socastee (1-4) for the Region VIII-AAA opener. In many regards, whoever wins this game will have a major leg up for the region's fourth playoff spot.
Myrtle Beach, Georgetown and Wilson appear to be the region's top three teams, and that leaves the Chiefs, Braves and St. James fighting it out for the final postseason spot.
None of those last three teams have beaten a South Carolina opponent this year, with Socastee's win coming in overtime against West Brunswick (N.C.).