High School Football

Contenders? Week 4 of high school football on Grand Strand could help bring clarity

Running back Tyrek Reed (left) and his Carvers Bay teammates are set to clash with Stephon Wilson and North Myrtle Beach on Friday night.
Running back Tyrek Reed (left) and his Carvers Bay teammates are set to clash with Stephon Wilson and North Myrtle Beach on Friday night. For The Sun News

Last season, North Myrtle Beach football players were challenged by coaches to protect their home turf.

It’s a message head coach Matt Reel re-emphasized on Monday after his team — ranked No. 3 in Class 4A — began to look ahead to a collision with Carvers Bay, the No.4 team in Class 2A.

“We talked last year about taking our stadium back. We didn’t lose any there last year, and there’s no use in starting now,” he said. “You have a really, really good team coming in (Friday). They’re going to be ready, and we will too.”

In addition to that clash of the titans in Little River, several other area teams will get to see where they measure up in Week 4 of the high school football season.

Arguably, the top game in South Carolina this week, Conway — No. 5 in Class 5A — will host perennial powerhouse Hartsville, the No. 2 team in Class 4A. The Tigers remained undefeated last week by taking out Wilson, while Hartsville made light work of Camden.

After hanging on for a 33-32 win over rival Georgetown, another big test lies ahead Friday night for Andrews —the No. 8 team in Class 2A — when it welcomes Hemingway, the No. 2 team in Class A. Carolina Forest play host to Hoggard (N.C.) in a non-region test on Thursday night.

And while neither team is ranked, bragging rights will certainly be on the line at Socastee on Friday, when the Braves (2-0) host Myrtle Beach. The Seahawks earned their first victory of the season last week, hanging on for a 21-19 win over West Florence.

Here is a total breakdown of those games and others in Week 4 on the Grand Strand:

Thursday night

Georgetown (0-3) at Stratford (0-2)

Time: Thursday, 7 p.m.

Radio: WGTN-AM 1400

Series record: Stratford leads 9-2 (Georgetown won last year, 30-7)

Of note: Though in a losing effort, Georgetown revealed its explosive potential with 374 yards of total offense. Of that, 210 came on the ground. Ishmael Taylor was largely responsible for that effort, running for 124 yards and two touchdowns. … Stratford has struggled, giving up more than 40 points in each of its games.

Favorite: Georgetown

Hoggard (N.C.) (2-0) at Carolina Forest (2-0)

Time: Thursday, 7 p.m.

Radio: Hoggard possibly poses the Panthers’ biggest test this season, in large part due to a balanced attack. Quarterback Josh Jones has completed nearly 67 percent of his passes, to go along with a talented pair of running backs in Kenneth Marshall and Lloyd Jarreau. Anthony Schiavone and Austin Edwards are sure-handed in the passing game. … Carolina Forest has rushed for more than 300 yards in each of its games. Quasim Porter has led the way with 287 yards and a touchdown.

Favorite: Carolina Forest


Friday night

Aynor (2-1) at Creek Bridge (0-3)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Series record: Aynor leads 10-5

Of note: Aynor relied on its running game to outlast Green Sea Floyds last week. Noah Seaver led the way with 95 yards and a touchdown. He also is the team leader with 279 rushing yards and two touchdowns. … Ethan Martin and Drew Shelley each have 12 tackles, five coming in the opponents’ backfield. … Creek Bridge has lost 24 consecutive games dating back to Oct. 2014.

Favorite: Aynor

Carvers Bay (3-0) at North Myrtle Beach (3-0)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Radio: WRNN-FM 99.5, nmbchiefs.com (North Myrtle Beach)

Series record: North Myrtle Beach won only meeting last year, 42-12

Of note: Both teams come into this one ranked in their respective classifications (Carvers Bay is No. 4 in Class 2A, North Myrtle Beach is No. 3 in Class 4A). … North Myrtle Beach showed the depth it possesses in its running game last week, with four different players scoring touchdowns on the ground. The news gets better this week, as the Chiefs welcome back T.J. Gore, who sat out the first few weeks nursing a leg injury. … Carvers Bay’s game last week against Waccamaw was called in the second quarter. … The Bears boast a strong running game of their own, including quarterback Janaz Sumpter along with running backs Toronto King and Tyrek Reed. … The X-factor for this one could be which team can be more consistent in the passing game.

Favorite: North Myrtle Beach

Loris (1-2) at Green Sea Floyds (1-1)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Radio: WLSC-AM 1240 (Loris)

Series record: Loris has won 34 of 38 meetings, including each of last nine

Of note: Green Sea Floyds’ was unable to get going offensively last week in a messy 16-6 loss to Aynor. A bright spot for the Trojans is that Shaquille Johnson picked up his second touchdown of the season a week ago. … Despite a solid game by Loris’ Jahrique Isaiah, who caught four passes for 95 yards and a touchdown, the Lions’ offense sputtered as well. Of course, this game will come down to who can win the battle up front.

Favorite: Loris

Hartsville (3-0) at Conway (3-0)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Radio/TV and online: WGTR-FM 107.9; HTC Channel 4 and htcconnect.com

Series record: Conway leads 27-24 (Hartsville has won five of last six)

Of note: Hartsville comes in as the No. 2 team in Class 4A, while Conway is the No. 5 team in Class 5A. … The Tigers downed Wilson 37-7 a week ago. Darren Grainger completed half of his 18 completions to fellow senior Juwan Moody for 139 yards and two touchdowns. … Conway has yet to allow more than 8 points in any game thus far. … Tiyon Evans makes the Hartsville offensive machine go. On 23 carries this season, he has 427 yards and five touchdowns. He also has four catches — each touchdowns — for 167 yards. … Quisi Huggins and Lacy Jones will also see their share of carries for the Red Foxes.

Favorite: Conway

Hemingway (3-0) at Andrews (3-0)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Series record: Andrews leads 24-18 (Yellow Jackets have won last two)

Of note: Hemingway is ranked No. 2 in Class A, while Andrews is No. 8 in Class 2A. … Andrews is led by the three-headed monster in the backfield in Michael Pipkin, R.J. Knowlin and Jaizell Murphy, who have combined for eight rushing touchdowns this season. … Murphy also has five touchdowns through the air. … The Yellow Jacket defense gave up more than its share of yards in the run game last week, bad news against a speedy Hemingway squad. Troy Singletary runs the show, throwing for 318 yards and four touchdowns through the air and 169 more yards on the ground and three scores.

Favorite: Andrews

Myrtle Beach (1-2) at Socastee (2-0)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Radio: WYNA-FM 104.9 (Myrtle Beach); WSEA-FM 100.3 (Socastee)

Series record: Myrtle Beach leads 35-10 (Seahawks have won 14 of last 16 meetings)

Of note: Sounds weird after a winning effort, but Myrtle Beach is seeking to bounce back after an uneven game against West Florence. Turnovers were particularly costly, the Seahawks losing three a week ago. … Quarterback Luke Doty and wideout Daron Finkley have created quite the connection, going for 262 yards and four touchdowns in two games together. … Socastee is 2-0 after wins over West Brunswick (N.C.) and North Brunswick (N.C.). … Dashaun Myers has emerged as a reliable back for the Braves, rushing for 190 yards and two touchdowns, along with another score through the air. … Devin Stamp leads Socastee with 181 yards and three touchdowns.

Favorite: Myrtle Beach

St. James (1-2) at Lake City (1-2)

Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m.

Series record: Lake City leads 3-2

Of note: After taking it on the chin last Friday against Carolina Forest, news got worse this week for the Sharks as it was announced starter Berkeley Young is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Jacob Tyler will get the nod this week, this after dipping his toes in the deep end in spot duty during St. James’ Week 3 loss. …. Lake City finally got on the board last week with a 30-20 win over Kingstree. … St. James should be wary of a Panthers passing game that seemed to find itself last week. Quarterback Christ Burnett has thrown for 501 yards and two touchdowns.

Favorite: Lake City

Joe’s picks: 7-1 last week (22-3 overall)

Fans’ picks: 7-1 last week (20-5 overall)

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