High School Football

Mixture of stars and untested QBs to lead Grand Strand teams as football season kicks off

Kickoff Classic highlights in slow motion

Highlights of the 2019 CNB Kickoff Classic football jamboree held at Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium. The annual event showcasing area high school football teams was rained out after just two matches on Friday.
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Highlights of the 2019 CNB Kickoff Classic football jamboree held at Coastal Carolina's Brooks Stadium. The annual event showcasing area high school football teams was rained out after just two matches on Friday.

There have been a lot of sleepless nights for many of the Grand Strand’s high school football coaches this summer, as coaches are faced with starting the season with an inexperienced quarterback.

Sure, Mickey Wilson, Marc Morris, and Donnie Kiefer have had no issues finding deep sleep, as the quarterback situations at Myrtle Beach, Carolina Forest and Green Sea Floyds, respectively, were never in doubt.

Returning a state champion quarterback, like Luke Doty at Myrtle Beach and Bubba Elliott at Green Sea Floyds, gives a coach a sense of peace that is hard to replicate.

Morris has the luxury of an experienced, rocket-armed quarterback to lead Carolina Forest before Mason Garcia trades the burgundy, black, and silver of the Panthers for the purple and yellow of East Carolina University in the fall.

Then there are the others, from North Myrtle Beach to Waccamaw, where coaches have observed quarterback competitions, looking for an edge that will make Friday nights a little bit easier to manage. Having a steadying presence at the helm of your offense can take away a lot of stress, just as having an inexperienced player in the backfield can lead to some visor-throwing, hair-pulling, and gut-wrenching plays.

In Friday’s top contest, Conway will take the 30-mile drive to North Myrtle Beach, where each program will have a new quarterback leading the troops onto the field.

For the Tigers, gone is DaQuinton Grady, last year’s signal caller, with Darren Grainger a distant memory from coach Carlton Terry’s first season at the helm of the program. Insert a sophomore, also named Carlton Terry, who will be tasked with making the Tigers’ offense productive.

“I expect him to manage the offense and distribute the ball to our playmakers,” Conway’s coach said of his son. “The success of our team will be defined by our play in the trenches. We have an experienced defensive line returning and we will rely on them playing well early in the season.”

That defensive line, led by South Carolina commit Tonka Hemingway, will have a unique challenge in front of it facing North Myrtle Beach. Three-year starting quarterback Cason McClendon is no longer leading the Chiefs, now Matt Reel is turning to a two-quarterback system to pilot his offense.

“Ramsey Lewis and Cam Freeman (are) both working and improving daily,” he said of his quarterback situation. “(The) expectations are to lead our team, our offense, and run things efficiently. (The quarterback should) limit turnovers, make good decisions, and get our athletes the ball in space.”

Lewis will begin the game as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback, but will also play his more natural position of running back at different points in the game.

Due to the cancellation of most of last Friday’s Conway National Bank Kickoff Classic, North Myrtle Beach and Conway did not see the field, taking away valuable reps for their young quarterbacks and scouting for both coaching staffs.

“Unfortunately, we were only able to exchange one scrimmage (tape),” Terry said of facing North Myrtle Beach. “We have to really focus on teaching fundamentals during practice and have the ability to adjust during the game.”

Trial by fire for the first-time starting quarterbacks will begin at 7:30 p.m. at North Myrtle Beach.

Week 0 Schedule

Conway at North Myrtle Beach

Green Sea Floyds at West Columbia (NC)

Loris at St. James

West Brunswick (NC) at Socastee

Carvers Bay at Waccamaw

Bye: Aynor, Carolina Forest, Myrtle Beach

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