Like clockwork, Mother Nature again inserted herself in another season of high school football on the Grand Strand.
Fearing the worst, a bevy of games were initially moved from Friday night to Thursday. Even that was not enough to escape her touch, as lightning delays forced most games back to their original date.
Only a pair of contests between Georgetown County schools were played Thursday evening.
Carvers Bay’s matchup with Waccamaw was called in the first half with the Bears leading 14-0. After a lengthy delay, Andrews and Georgetown chose to see their game through, with the Yellow Jackets holding on for a 33-32 win.
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And as fate would have it, Friday was much more manageable for play, albeit in the fact lightning did not spray the night sky as it had 24 hours earlier. Among teams on the Grand Strand, only North Myrtle Beach did not play on Friday, its contest with West Brunswick (N.C.) moved to Labor Day evening at 6 p.m.
I’ve got mud everywhere. Places it don’t need to be, everywhere. We all grew up in Aynor and that’s about what Aynor is, a mud hole. We’ve played in this our whole lives. It’s another game to us.
Aynor running back Noah Seaver
While the grand re-opening of Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium received rave reviews, this week of football will be known more for rain turning area playing fields into a muddy mess.
The threat of more damage to the turf at Carolina Forest forced the Panthers to move their home contest to St. James. The natural surface at Sharks Stadium may have fared OK despite getting soaked in recent weeks, but the same cannot be said for the one at Aynor High’s football stadium.
Every pass attempt turned into an adventure between the Blue Jackets and Green Sea Floyds, as only 40 yards were earned between the teams through the air. Though less than glamorous or efficient, some savored the rare opportunity to “muddy things up.”
Said Aynor running back Noah Seaver: “I’ve got mud everywhere. Places it don’t need to be, everywhere. We all grew up in Aynor and that’s about what Aynor is, a mud hole. We’ve played in this our whole lives. It’s another game to us.”
Only time will tell if that is the wettest — or muddiest, for that matter — this football season will be. Among those hoping that is the case are area coaches and athletic directors, tasked with making the tough decision of whether to play or not.
If there is any consolation, at least the game is now in the rear view and preparation for a new opponent can begin.
▪ Myrtle Beach wins, but less than sharp in doing so: Up 21-10 at halftime, the Seahawks failed to score in the second 24 minutes, needing a late stop on a two-point conversion to stave off West Florence. In the second half, Myrtle Beach gained 39 yards — a large share of which came on a drive to preserve the ball game. Let’s just say it was an odd affair for the Seahawks, who in their debut at the newly renovated Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium saw an inflatable helmet the team runs through deflate as they were taking the field and sit through a nearly 15-minute delay due to a light outage.
▪ Going in opposite directions: Georgetown fell to 0-3 for the first time since 1999 as it fell to intra-county rival Andrews, 33-32. For the Bulldogs, it was also their first loss in five games to the Yellow Jackets, who moved to 3-0 on the season. R.J. Knowlin had two rushing touchdowns for Andrews, while quarterback Jaizell Murphy threw for a score and rushed for another.
▪ Highly combustible: Everything hasn’t been seamless for Conway early on, but when at its best the team can paint a pretty picture. That particularly holds true on the offensive side of the ball, where the Tigers racked up 420 yards of offense en route to a 37-7 win over previously unbeaten Wilson. Quarterback D’Wuan Grainger had 277 yards through the air and three touchdowns for Conway.
↑ Daron Finkley, Myrtle Beach: The junior receiver had eight catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns against West Florence. It was his second straight game of 100+ receiving yards.
↑ Carolina Forest running game: The Panthers followed up a game in which it racked up 300+ rushing yards with another on Friday, rushing for 325 yards in a 41-7 win over St. James.
↑ Georgetown-Andrews: Much like last season, this game was again decided by a touchdown or less. Georgetown had an opportunity to take the game late, but its final drive ended with a turnover on downs in the Yellow Jackets’ red zone.
↓ North Myrtle Beach schedule: Due to inclement weather, the Chiefs will now play two games in a span of five days. North Myrtle Beach will travel to West Brunswick (N.C.) for a 6 p.m. kickoff on Labor Day before its home opener Friday night against Carvers Bay.
The Big Ticket for Week 4
★★★★★ Hartsville at Conway: A top-5 team in Class 5A, Conway gets to measure itself against a perennial powerhouse in Hartsville, highly-ranked itself in the latest Class 4A prep media poll.
★★★★ Carvers Bay at North Myrtle Beach: Both of these teams advanced to the Lower State semifinal round last season, with each potentially coming into this game undefeated (North Myrtle Beach plays Monday).
★★★ Myrtle Beach at Socastee: Myrtle Beach was sloppy in earning its first win this past Friday against West Florence. An undefeated Socastee team is seeking to avenge a 70-0 loss to its rival last season.
★★ Hemingway at Andrews: Andrews just scraped past rival Georgetown this past Thursday. It doesn’t get any easier for the Yellow Jackets as the No. 3 team in Class A comes to town.
★ Hoggard (N.C.) at Carolina Forest: Already with one win over a North Carolina heavyweight under its belt, Carolina Forest looks to chalk up another and move to 3-0 on the season.
Other games next week: Aynor at Creek Bridge, Georgetown at Stratford, Loris at Green Sea Floyds, St. James at Lake City