High School Football

Blue chip quarterbacks and a signal-caller’s nightmare: Strand players to watch in 2019

Carolina Forest senior quarterback Mason Garcia looks to pass during football practice at Carolina Forest High School Friday afternoon.
Carolina Forest senior quarterback Mason Garcia looks to pass during football practice at Carolina Forest High School Friday afternoon. jbell@thesunnews.com

These are The Sun News’ top 10 high school football players to watch when the 2019 season kicks off next week:

Luke Doty, QB – Myrtle Beach

Call your favorite Hollywood director, because Doty’s first year as a starter for Myrtle Beach is a movie waiting to be filmed. Already committed to the University of South Carolina before taking over as the full-time starter for the Seahawks, the rising senior took the potent Seahawk offense to another level, piling up a dozen wins, a state title and a masterful win on the road to avenge the season’s only loss. The only question he’s yet to answer: What’s left for the encore? After putting up a 72-percent completion percentage for 3,037 yards and 36 touchdowns, 701 rushing yards and another seven touchdowns – topping that will be a show to see.

Tonka Hemingway, DL – Conway

What stops a great offense? Defensive pressure. Tonka Hemingway is defensive pressure personified and has made a name for himself in the backfields of Grand Strand teams for the past two seasons. Having committed to South Carolina over finalists Duke, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest, Hemingway will be staying close to home to play big-time football. Surely, the offensive coordinators on the Grand Strand will celebrate his signing.

Mason Garcia, QB – Carolina Forest

Fire up your favorite game system and create a quarterback that has a rocket arm, can run and has the fire to lead by example. You just made Mason Garcia, a 6-foot-4 senior with a Howitzer attached below his right shoulder. Leading a strong Carolina Forest offense last season, Garcia will be the focal point this year before going to play football at East Carolina University next fall.

Jaquan Dixon, RB – Green Sea Floyds

When your coach preaches hard work and toughness, practices can often be as challenging as the games. Put on any of Dixon’s film from last season and you’ll see a grown man among boys running all the way to a Class A state championship. Oh, and Dixon did it all as a sophomore while also playing on defense and special teams. More than 2,000 rushing yards is not out of the question for the Trojans’ backfield beast.

Adam Janak, DB – Carolina Forest

Playing against pass-happy teams much of the season, Janak made the most of his time in 2018 with three interceptions and 43 tackles. As the leader of a strong defensive unit, he will need to shut down the best of Class 5A for the Panthers to have the season they’ve dreamed about.

Tanner Cox, OL – Green Sea Floyds

Paving the way to a state championship with 15 pancake blocks and a 93-percent grade proves that Cox has the ability to dominate in the trenches. Opening holes for QB Bubba Elliott and Dixon will be critical to the Trojans’ 2019 season.

Ramsey Lewis, RB – North Myrtle Beach

Gone are the stalwarts of the North Myrtle Beach offense from a year ago, leaving Lewis primed for a breakout season for a young squad. The running game for the Chiefs has been a key component in the recent string of success, and breaking in a new quarterback will give Lewis and his teammates plenty of opportunities to impact the early season.

Anwain Graham, ATH – Green Sea Floyds

Graham has a way of making an impact on a game no matter where he’s playing. As a safety, he’s prone to come down with an interception and dazzle with the ball in his hands. Out of the backfield, he’s a game breaker with electric speed. The Trojans have a bevy of options for the upcoming season with Elliott, Dixon, and Graham.

Marquiez Carter, RB – Aynor

A featured back at Aynor always has the ability to pile up statistics with the tradition and dedication to the running game the Blue Jackets display year after year. Carter filled in well for Noah Seaver last season and is ready to take his turn as the lead dog on a playoff team.

Tyree Funnye, ATH – Waccamaw

Funnye had a huge performance in the Warriors’ lone win of last season and will be relied on even more for continued improvement in 2019. Look for a bigger impact this season as Waccamaw continues to get creative in using their weapon of choice.

Honorable mention

Andrew Brown, QB – Aynor

Bubba Elliott, QB – Green Sea Floyds

Deondre Ransom, RB, Aynor

Ethan White, QB – St. James

Gage Connor, QB – Loris

Shedrick Pointer, LB – Myrtle Beach

Zane Smith, K,P – North Myrtle Beach

Zyon Belle, RB – North Myrtle Beach

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