For all the flash Mykal Moody has provided in his first three years at Conway, the talented and coveted quarterback knows there’s one thing he and his classmates haven’t delivered.
A playoff victory.
The Tigers haven’t won in the postseason since 2008, and it’s a streak Moody said he and his teammates strive to end.
“We talk about it every practice,” the senior said. “I know since I’ve gotten here, we haven’t won a playoff game. We want to win state and win the region, but we haven’t won a playoff game. With the mindset we’ve got, we’ve got to win playoff games to win a state championship.”
The Tigers did make strides last season after back-to-back 5-7 seasons. They won the Victory Bell matchup against Myrtle Beach for the first time since 2006 and made quick work of Carolina Forest in the regular-season finale.
However, a third-place finish in Region VI-AAAA left Conway with less-than-desirable seeding for the playoffs and led to a 19-point loss to Stratford in the first round as the Tigers finished 8-4.
Much of the final tally could be attributed to Moody’s magnificent individual season.
As a junior, he ran for 1,490 yards and 30 touchdowns while throwing for another 1,519 and 17 scores. He did all that in 11 games – he missed the team’s region opener after suffering a concussion – giving him an average of roughly 273 total yards and four combined touchdowns per game.
If Moody topped those figures, he’d likely put himself in the conversation for South Carolina Mr. Football honors.
“I think anything’s possible,” coach Chuck Jordan said in advance of his 30th season. “Is that going to be necessary for us to be successful, I don’t know. Hopefully not.”
Either way, the team knows Moody can’t do it himself. He’ll need the returning three offensive linemen to continue to improve and receivers Malcolm Green, Malik Frasier and Sawyer Jordan to stretch the field. Tight end Kahmil Cooper moves inside after playing receiver last season.
Green, a senior, is back primarily on offense after spending most of 2011 in the defensive secondary. It was there that he intercepted six passes. He also returned 18 punts for 456 yards and brought back a kickoff return 99 yards for a touchdown.
In spot duty on offense, he caught seven passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Needless to say, he brings a style that ultimately complements Moody’s.
“It’s going to help a lot,” Moody said. “He’s probably one of the fastest receivers around. And he’s [6-foot-2], so I can just put it out there and let him go get it.”
Said Jordan: “We kind of felt like we were a little bit shy in the secondary last year. We have been able to address that, so we were comfortable enough to move Malcolm back to receiver.”
Running back Jaquail Crosland will again be joining Moody in the backfield, as will junior Tyreke Phillips.
Defensively, the Tigers could be better than a unit that forced 34 total turnovers last year. Senior defensive end Tre Longs piled up 56 tackles, four sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries a year ago, and returning linebacker Jacob Moreland led the team with 103 tackles last season.
Junior defensive backs Ikeem Coles and Malik Dukes are ready to take on more responsibility after playing alongside Green and departed defensive back Robert Nelson last year.
Added up, and Conway’s three-year streak of early playoff exits could end. However, even just one postseason victory may not be enough for this bunch.
“We want to win that first playoff game,” Moody said. “But we want to go further than that.”