High School Football

Several things to look for at the 28th annual CNB Kickoff Classic

North Myrtle Beach’s romp over Conway in last year’s CNB Kickoff Classic set the stage for a big year in Little River for the Chiefs. The two teams will match wits once again at the 2017 edition of the event.
North Myrtle Beach’s romp over Conway in last year’s CNB Kickoff Classic set the stage for a big year in Little River for the Chiefs. The two teams will match wits once again at the 2017 edition of the event. jlee@thesunnews

Loris vs. Socastee: Loris’ offensive woes were well chronicled a season ago, scoring a mere 17 touchdowns in 11 games. On the other hand, Socastee had more than its share of issues on defense, opponents hanging 41 points per game on the Braves a year ago.

Each unit will have its opportunity to show what they fixed over the summer, going head-to-head in this year’s CNB Kickoff Classic opener.

Speed will not be a strength of the Loris offense, instead relying on its power run game to move the chains. As for the Socastee defense, it has several guys returning in the front seven, but much of the unit’s experience is in the secondary, where several players who saw extensive time return.

Carolina Forest vs. Waccamaw: Once the young pup, Matt Beale now finds himself as an elder statesmen on a young Carolina Forest squad. After throwing for 1,000 yards and rushing for 500 more a season ago, the senior quarterback now must begin work with a number of new faces, this a year after nearly 20 seniors contributed for the Panthers in some form or fashion.

The contest also will offer a first look at the Waccamaw football squad under Shane Fidler, who was hired as the Warriors’ new football coach earlier this year.

Green Sea Floyds vs. St. James: Arguably, the most intriguing thing about this one is there isn’t an exact idea of what to expect. In addition to featuring a pair of coaches in their first CNB Kickoff Classic — Donnie Kiefer and Joey Price both in their first year at Green Sea Floyds and St. James, respectively — each squad is getting accustomed to new coaching philosophies as well.

Content with earning “three yards in a cloud of dust” the past couple seasons under former coach Tony Sullivan, Kiefer is expected to air it out a little more than his predecessor. As for Price, the CNB Kickoff Classic is a final audition for St. James players in their pursuit of a starting spot.

Myrtle Beach vs. Aynor: In last season’s matchup at the CNB Kickoff Classic, the Myrtle Beach offensive lit the night sky with its aerial attack en route to a 27-8 win. Playing with what football coach Jody Jenerette described as a “group of young pups,” Aynor at times was able to win its share of battles in the trenches, creating holes for its large stable of running backs.

A large share of the Blue Jackets involved in that “baptism by fire” are back for this year’s jamboree. However, the squad has some added artillery at its disposal this time around – a passing game.

Against an inexperienced Myrtle Beach defense, this could show Jenerette how much lift his Aynor offense actually has.

North Myrtle Beach at Conway: This one has potential to steal the show, both sides featuring athletes that can – some will – play college football next fall.

Both secondaries could be in for quite a bit of work during this one, North Myrtle Beach and Conway a pair of up-tempo offenses who like to pitch the ball around the lot. However, games are won at the most basic of levels – the trenches.

A massive Conway offensive line featuring top prospect Raiqwon O’Neal, Western Kentucky commit Gunner Britton and Lucas Partin will match wits with North Myrtle Beach’s Kwame and Marcelous Livingston when the Tigers have the ball. As for when the Chiefs are in possession, a relatively inexperienced group of offensive linemen seek to protect quarterback Cason McClendon from sophomore standout Tonka Hemingway and a Conway defensive front that flashed its potential during a run to the Lower State 5A semifinal round.

Joe L. Hughes II: 843-444-1702, @JoeLHughesII

CNB Kickoff Classic

When: Friday, Aug. 11 at 6 p.m.

Where: Wall Stadium, Conway

TV: HTC Channel 4 and HTCConnect.com

Cost: Pre-sale tickets can be purchased at Conway National Bank locations for $6. Tickets are $7 at the gate