High School Football

Why Myrtle Beach, Conway won’t play for the Victory Bell this season, other changes

Conway and Myrtle Beach Players get hyped for 2017 Victory Bell Game

Conway plays Myrtle Beach on Thursday in the rivalry game for the Victory Bell.
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Conway plays Myrtle Beach on Thursday in the rivalry game for the Victory Bell.

It appears the Victory Bell is primed to stay in Myrtle Beach for another year.

And it won’t be because of another close finish.

With all but one area high school football contest being canceled or postponed because of the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, the Seahawks’ annual rivalry game against Conway will not be played this week - or perhaps at all.

“Our game against Conway is canceled unless the (South Carolina) High School League steps in and pushes back the season another week,” said Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson, whose team beat the Tigers 13-12 last season. “We’re in a mess and it seems like we’re not getting any help from Columbia (home of the SCHSL).”

Nine of the area’s teams were to be in action in Week Five, with North Myrtle Beach having the week off. Included in the canceled games are St. James at Aynor, Loris at Carolina Forest, Myrtle Beach at Conway and Socastee at Georgetown. McBee was due to travel to Green Sea Floyds in Week Five, but the two teams will instead play in the newly added Week 11, as they were both without games in Week Four.

Waccamaw at St. John’s will go on as scheduled.

On Tuesday, the SCHSL met and decided to add a Week 11 to the regular season, allowing teams to make up games missed in Week Four, when Hurricane Florence was bearing down on South Carolina. While much of the state has returned to school, the Grand Strand and Pee Dee areas are out through at least the end of the week, as major flooding and road closures have prevented a return to normalcy. More flooding continues on the Grand Strand, and is likely to continue for several more days.

Georgetown High School assistant principal and co-athletic director Alicia Johnson offered her best wishes to the Grand Strand while confirming that her school’s game against Socastee will not be played.

“Initially, we wanted to get the game in on Monday, but with Horry County being out of school, there was no way to make it happen,” she said. “We understand that safety and the major impacts of the floods are a key factor in making these decisions, and we are hoping for the best possible outcomes for our neighbors in Horry County.”

According to Horry County Schools spokesperson Lisa Bourcier, student-athletes in the school district can’t practice or participate in athletic competitions if school is not in session, and contact sports require at least two days of practice prior to a game. Non-contact sports require at least one. Georgetown County schools were back in session Wednesday.

Roger Dixon, HCS Athletic Assistant to Chief Officer for Support Services, said none of the games scheduled for Friday can be moved to Monday.

“The purpose behind this decision is primarily safety but also allows the coaches to assess the status of each of their athletes and their preparedness to play,” Dixon said.

He added that Horry County Schools is in a “wait and see” state regarding fall sports schedules.

“The playing of sports events is of major importance to many but our current situation with the pending flooding takes precedence as lives and homes are in much danger,” he said.

In addition to Week Five’s cancellations, both Wilson and Carolina Forest’s Marc Morris confirmed that the two teams will not make up their Week Four contest during the SCHSL’s added Week 11, as they do not want to put their players in harm’s way for a non-region game.

“We don’t want to put our players out for a glorified scrimmage after we’ve wrapped up region play,” Wilson said. “Had the game happened when it was scheduled, it would have helped us get ready for our region schedule, but playing it after the season doesn’t benefit either of our programs, especially if we’re fortunate enough to make the playoffs. It’s unfortunate, because that’s a fun game for us to play and I know both communities really look forward to it.”

Both Myrtle Beach and Carolina Forest will have eight-game regular season schedules with the two cancellations.

Week 5 Schedule

  • Waccamaw at St. John’s

  • McBee at Green Sea Floyds – Moved to Week 11 (Nov. 2)

  • Socastee at Georgetown – Cancelled

  • Myrtle Beach at Conway – Cancelled

  • Loris at Carolina Forest – Cancelled

  • St. James at Aynor – Cancelled

  • North Myrtle Beach – Off

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