As fate would have it, the first varsity start of Myrtle Beach quarterback Luke Doty came sooner rather than later.
With senior starter Lawson Cribb sidelined due to a nagging ankle injury, the highly touted sophomore did not disappoint Friday afternoon at the controls of the Seahawks offensive attack.
Doty threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns against Charlotte (N.C.) Christian, along with rushing for 173 more yards and another score for Myrtle Beach. Unfortunately it came in a losing effort, as a one-handed grab by the Knights’ Ricky Kofoed on fourth-and-10 with 22 seconds left allowed them to steal a 54-51 win at Ashley Booth Field.
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“The thing about (Doty) is he’s a great football player, he’s a great quarterback,” Myrtle Beach football coach Mickey Wilson said. “He’s going to come out and compete no matter what. He’s been a great leader for us this week, stepping in at the quarterback role.”
In stretches, Doty displayed many of the reasons he has already received interest and offers from college programs despite his lack of varsity snaps.
▪ In the second quarter, the Myrtle Beach quarterback rolled the pocket to his left, buying time to fire a pinpoint pass in the direction of wide receiver Daron Finkley for a touchdown.
▪ Early in the third, Doty’s legs allowed him to outrace Charlotte Christian tacklers down the sideline for 66-yard scoring run.
There were also moments where his youth bled through, throwing a pair of costly interceptions — one that kept Myrtle Beach off the scoreboard, the other spotting six points for Charlotte Christian.
“He’s a young quarterback … young quarterbacks are going to make mistakes some times,” Wilson said. “(Overall) I am happy for him because he played really well in his (first varsity start) at quarterback.”
With Cribb sidelined for at least the next couple weeks, Doty will get more opportunities to showcase his talents in front of Myrtle Beach fans.
Said Wilson: “Moving forward we’ll see what happens, but (Friday) he played great.”
▪ While the Myrtle Beach athletic department doesn’t want to make a habit of it, Ashley Booth Field’s lone opportunity to host the Seahawks football program received a passing grade.
Not only were fans treated to a barn-burner that featured 105 points and 1,009 yards of total offense, but an experience — despite the many amenities Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium has to offer — unique in itself. Fans that arrived early could view the contest via the bed of their truck, separated only by a chain link fence surrounding the venue. Others lined a fence surrounding the playing field for a closer view.
Said Myrtle Beach football coach Mickey Wilson: “We’re mighty happy to have such great facilities at our disposal, and it made for a good atmosphere today for football.”
▪ St. James was close to kicking down the door last week. On Friday night, it took out the entire wall.
The Sharks ended a 12-game losing streak with a 49-20 victory over rival Waccamaw. It was the program’s first victory since defeating Marlboro County in the first round of the 2015 Class 3A playoffs.
Quarterback Berkeley Young engineered a trio of first half scoring drives, two of which ended with him throwing touchdown passes. Alex Holmes was the main catalyst for St. James on the night, rushing for 125 yards and a touchdown in addition to taking a punt 71 yards to pay dirt.
▪ Area teams from Region 6-5A have flexed their muscle thus far in the 2017 season, the trio of Conway, Carolina Forest and Socastee each undefeated after two weeks of play.
After a solid win at Georgetown the previous week, a mistake-prone Conway squad scooted past Wando, 17-7. As for Socastee, its offense again lit up the scoreboard en route to a 43-20 victory over North Brunswick (N.C.).
Though inexperienced at most spots, Carolina Forest held the ball for more than 32 minutes and averaged better than six yards per carry in a 24-7 win over Providence Day (N.C.). Running back Quasim Porter led the Panthers with 147 yards on 25 carries.
Four other teams on the Grand Strand are undefeated after two weeks of play: Andrews, Carvers Bay, Green Sea Floyds and North Myrtle Beach.
↑ Aynor passing game: Yes, you read that correctly. Advertised all offseason by coach Jody Jenerette, the Blue Jackets put their passing game in motion Friday night as Noah Spencer completed 10 of 24 passes for 213 yards and three touchdowns in Friday’s 25-21 loss to Andrew Jackson. Nathan Williamson was his primary target with five catches for 128 yards and a score.
↑ Carvers Bay’s Toronto King and Tyrek Reed: The return of King to the roster after a year in Myrtle Beach has given a potent Bears backfield even more of a punch. Both scored touchdowns on Friday night, including two from King in the final stanza to put a game Georgetown squad away, 18-6.
↑ North Myrtle Beach defense: While the Chiefs certainly have a bevy of weapons on the offensive side of the football, their defense is leading the way early in 2017. Through two games, North Myrtle Beach has yielded only six points, this after a 30-0 shutout of rival Loris on Friday night.
↔ Myrtle Beach: While valiant, the Seahawks were unable to pull out a win against Charlotte Christian, falling to 0-2 for the first time in more than a decade. Myrtle Beach showed its explosive capability on offense, and a defense that in flashes showed the unit is finding its way. The coming weeks will offer guidance about this Seahawk team’s true trajectory.
‘The Big Ticket’ for Week 3
★★★★★ West Florence at Myrtle Beach: A renovated Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium opens to the public with a Thursday night primetime contest. Both teams will seek to avoid an 0-3 start.
★★★★ Conway at Wilson: Though underwhelming in a win at Wando, Conway is 2-0 and ranked fifth in Class 5A. A week before its home opener against perennial powerhouse Hartsville, the Tigers must get past an undefeated Wilson squad riding a wave of momentum since the hire of new coach Derek Howard.
★★★ Green Sea Floyds at Aynor: Three yards and a cloud of dust? If the first two weeks of the season are an indicator — particularly for these two teams — change has come for both as more of an emphasis has been put on the pass.
★★ St. James at Carolina Forest: The Sharks can honestly feel as if they should be 2-0 at this point of the season. St. James can show how much it has truly improved when it pays a visit to Carolina Forest and a physical bunch of Panthers.
★ Georgetown at Andrews: Much like last season, the Bulldogs are 0-2 coming into their annual contest with Georgetown County rival Andrews. Coach Scott Durham and his Yellow Jackets want to make sure history does not repeat itself.
Other games next week: Waccamaw at Carvers Bay, South Columbus (N.C.) at Loris, North Myrtle Beach at West Brunswick (N.C.)