Kelton Greene was reduced to the role of cheerleader.
The Myrtle Beach do-it-all senior missed the team’s second-round playoff victory over Hanahan, courtesy of his ejection and mandatory one-game suspension from the previous week’s game. So when he pulled his jersey on prior to kickoff, it was over a grey, hooded sweatshirt instead of pads.
He had already been left to wonder during the practice week if he would miss his final high school game. So when it actually started, it was only worse.
“That probably would have sucked for me,” Greene said. “But I had to keep my head up.”
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He played the role of supportive teammate. He was seen congratulating the guys deciding if he would get another chance.
As it turned out, he’ll be able to run through the inflatable tunnel and onto the field at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium one more time. The Seahawks’ victory, combined with No. 2 seed Marlboro County’s, means Greene will be starting Friday at home against the Bulldogs.
The game will decide which of the two advances to the Class AAA Lower State finals.
It was there last season, against Marlboro County, where Greene had a standout game in a crucial spot. He caught three passes for 69 yards and a touchdown while also picking off a pass in the fourth quarter that ultimately secured Myrtle Beach’s 20-6 win.
Greene was a bigger part of the offense then, when he led the team in receiving with 931 yards and nine touchdowns. But coach Mickey Wilson hasn’t changed his feelings on the meaning of his versatile senior.
“With Kelton, he just does so many things for us,” Wilson said. “I’ve told everybody who would listen: I think Kelton, pound-for-pound, is our best football player. Kelton brings it every night. He brings it every practice. I’ve always told the all-star game coaches, the college coaches who have come in.”
With the addition of Kyle Belack (1,216 yards, 18 receiving touchdowns) and continued improvement of tight end Malik Waring (854, 14), Greene’s offensive numbers have been cut in half this season.
He’s still got 23 receptions for 423 yards and five touchdowns. However, as Wilson pointed out, Greene’s overall worth to Myrtle Beach isn’t tied to one position.
As one of the team’s starting safeties, he’s piled up 52 total tackles, a forced fumble, an interception and a touchdown. If that wasn’t enough, he also returns kicks on special teams.
In his career, he’s scored 19 total touchdowns five ways – rushing, receiving, kickoff return, punt return and interception return. It’s given the Seahawks an advantage in that he’s a threat to score whenever he’s on the field.
On Friday, that’s where he’ll be, doing what he can to make sure he gets another game in pads.
“I know I messed up a couple weeks ago,” he said. “Regardless of what happened, you have to keep your composure. I feel like I need to play above and beyond.”