If Myrtle Beach’s football season were a fairy tale, it would be entering the castle to rescue the princess, with just a dragon to slay between the Seahawks and their ultimate goal.
But this dragon is quite a beast.
Class 4A Lower State champion Myrtle Beach (11-1) will take on Upper State champ Greer (13-1) at 1 p.m. on Friday at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia. The Seahawks are seeking their eighth state title in their 11th championship appearance.
The last time they took home a trophy was 2013, when they won the Class 3A crown.
Greer comes in with a 15-year gap between championship game appearances, having won state three times in program history.
Leading the charge for the Yellow Jackets, who are on a 13-game winning streak, is Shrine Bowl running back Ta’Meric Williams. The speedster has compiled 2,087 yards and 19 touchdowns rushing on the year, averaging 160-plus yards per game this year.
“The running back is their best offensive player and he’s our main focus,” said Myrtle Beach linebacker Salim Sessions. “They run out of the spread, so it’s something we’ve seen before but he is a different kind of player. He’s elusive and quick. We’ve got to rally to the ball to bring him down.”
Sessions and the defense have their work cut out for them, but have worked to become more of a unit over the past few weeks in the playoffs, where they’ve beaten Dreher, Marlboro County, North Myrtle Beach, and Hartsville all by double digits.
“As a defense, we all have to do our assignments. Up front, those guys need to eat up blockers so linebackers can flow through and clean up plays, the secondary needs to be there to stop those passing attempts and be the last line of defense when the back gets loose,” he said. “If everybody doesn’t do their job, we lose.”
Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson has concerns about the Greer attack, but also sees the Yellow Jacket defensive line as an issue for his squad to contend with. It is led by another Shrine Bowler in Quantavious “Quack” Cohen at nose tackle.
Greer has won all but one playoff game by double digits, grinding out a 6-3 win over Ridge View in the third round.
“The biggest thing is that they’re big and aggressive. They are a very physical football team, so we’ve got to do as good of a job as we can blocking them up front,” Wilson said. “It’s a different animal; their (defensive line) is really long and athletic. That sticks out more than anything else that they have incredible length, athleticism, and speed on the defense. We’re going to do a lot of different things on offense, but we’ll have to take what they give us sometimes.”
The weapons of the Myrtle Beach offense were on full display against Hartsville last week, when quarterback Luke Doty ran and threw effectively, accounting for seven touchdowns while mixing in Jermani Green on the ground.
“I have never seen a defensive line that big or that good in high school. They’re going to be a big challenge,” Green said after watching game film on Greer. “This week, we’ve tried to make sure we’re focused on the task in front of us. Yeah, we beat Hartsville and that was big, but that doesn’t mean anything this week. They are here for a reason and we can’t think that we won anything last week. Our goal is still in front of us.”
Myrtle Beach in state title games
AAA state championships (7) - 1980, 81, 83, 84, 2008, 2010, 2013
AAA state runner-up finishes (3) - 1975, 1982, 2009
State Championship Schedule
At Benedict College
Green Sea Floyds vs. Lamar, 5 p.m.
Abbeville vs. Barnwell, 8 p.m.
At Williams-Brice Stadium
Myrtle Beach vs. Greer, 1 p.m.
Dillon vs. Chester, 4 p.m.
Dutch Fork vs. TL Hanna, 7:30 p.m.
Friday’s A and 2A games will be streamed on www.nfhsnetwork.com (subscription required).
The Class 3A, 4A and 5A games will be will be streamed on www.nfhsnetwork.com and carried in Florence/Myrtle Beach on WWMB CW21, and in other parts of the state they will be televised on WACH Fox 57.2 (TWC 1250), WCIV 36.1 (MyTV Charleston) in Charleston, and on WMYA MyTV 40 in Asheville/Greenville. The Myrtle Beach-Greer game will be broadcast on BOB 104.9 FM.