In many ways, the 2018 high school football season was a roller coaster, with plenty of steep drops following meteoric rises. The season started on a high note, with North Myrtle Beach scoring a walk-off touchdown against Conway in a thrilling Week 0 contest, then ebbed and flowed through Hurricane Florence lows, ending with a pair of state championships on the Grand Strand with season-ending victories by Green Sea Floyds in Class A and Myrtle Beach in Class 4A.
Oftentimes, the sequel lives up to or even improves upon the original and that’s the hope for many moving into 2019.
As soon as helmets were strapped on and pads buckled down, players were dreaming of the Friday night lights ahead. For the seniors, they know it’s their last ride, their last chance to leave behind a legacy in their hometowns. The underclassmen are getting their first tastes of the gridiron – feeling the thrill of victory and anguish of defeat.
With nine or 10 chances for glory assured, less if Mother Nature rears her ugly head again this year, each week represents an opportunity to clash against an opponent following a week of preparation to reach the ultimate prize.
Gridiron giants from Aynor, Carolina Forest, Conway, Green Sea Floyds, Loris, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Socastee, St. James, and Waccamaw have made the commitment to their towns, their communities, their schools and themselves. They will don their school’s colors with pride, resting the hopes and dreams of their neighbors on their shoulders as they take the field for intense competition.
With talented teams all across the Grand Strand and plenty of rivalries slated for our 11-week season, the matchups jump out each and every week.
Conway will break in a new quarterback and has huge tests against Class 4A foes Myrtle Beach and Hartsville; the aforementioned Seahawks have to replace much of their skill position players, but bring back electric quarterback Luke Doty. Socastee and St. James will look to make a mark in the Class 5A race as both look to continue building their programs from the offensive and defensive lines out. North Myrtle Beach is in the midst of a youth movement, with three-year starting quarterback Cason McClendon leaving a hole with his graduation.
Waccamaw is continuing to build with coach Shane Fidler, having won his first game as head coach last season. Loris and Green Sea Floyds continue to make the North Strand a tough and competitive football ground, with the Trojans sporting shiny state champion rings this season.
Carolina Forest looks to be primed for its best season yet under coach Marc Morris, bringing back a wealth of talent in its 16 returning starters. Not to be outdone, Aynor will have its say in Class 3A, relying on its potent ground game to beat the opposition into submission.
It’s safe to say the players are ready, the fields have been watered and are in perfect condition. Paint the lines and spot the ball – it’s finally football season.
Aynor Blue Jackets
Coach: Jason Allen (8-2 in first year at Aynor)
2018 record: 8-2, 4-1 Region VI-3A (lost to Hanahan in second round of Class 3A playoffs)
Returning starters: 10 (five offense, five defense)
Radio station: None
Carolina Forest Panthers
Coach: Marc Morris (29-28 in five years at Carolina Forest)
2018 record: 8-2, 4-1 Region VI-5A (lost to Summerville in second round of Class 5A playoffs
Returning starters: 16 (eight offense, eight defense)
Radio station: WSEA-FM 101.9
Coach: Carlton Terry (13-9 in two years at Conway)
2018 record: 3-7, 3-2 Region VI-5A (lost to River Bluff in first round of Class 5A playoffs)
Returning starters: 7 (two offense, five defense)
Radio station: WGTR-FM 107.9
Green Sea Floyds
Coach: Donnie Kiefer (16-9 in two years at Green Sea Floyds)
2018 record: 10-3, 2-1 Region VI-A (Class A state champions)
Returning starters: 14 (eight offense, six defense)
Radio station: None
Coach: Jamie Snider (54-38 in eight years at Loris)
2018 record: 4-6, 3-2 Region VI-3A (lost to Wade Hampton in first round of Class 3A playoffs)
Returning starters: 11 (five offense, six defense)
Radio station: WLSC-AM 1240
Myrtle Beach Seahawks
Coach: Mickey Wilson (110-27 in 10 years at Myrtle Beach
2018 record: 12-1, 4-1 Region VII-4A (Class 4A state champions)
Returning starters: 8 (three offense, five defense)
Radio station: WYNA-FM 104.9
North Myrtle Beach Chiefs
Coach: Matt Reel (20-5 in two years at North Myrtle Beach)
2018 record: 8-4, 2-3 Region VII-4A (lost to Myrtle Beach in second round of Class 4A playoffs)
Returning starters: 7 (four offense, three defense)
Radio station: WRNN-FM 99.5
Coach: Marty Jacobs (first year at Socastee)
2018 record: 1-7, 0-5 Region VI-5A
Returning starters: 11 (six offense, five defense)
Radio station: WSEA-FM 100.3
Coach: Tommy Norwood (1-7 in first year at St. James)
2018 record: 1-7, 1-4 Region VII-4A
Returning starters: 11 (seven offense, four defense)
Radio station: None
Coach: Shane Fidler (1-18 in first year at Waccamaw)
2018 record: 1-8, 1-4 Region VI-3A
Returning starters: 9 (five offense, four defense)
Radio station: WGTN 1400 AM