The Myrtle Beach offense faced a huge test this summer and, so far, has passed with flying colors.
The Seahawks (3-0) ended last season with a celebration at midfield of Williams Brice Stadium as the Class 4A state champions, but it didn’t take long for coach Mickey Wilson to flip the page to a new season. Gone from that team were the top five targets for quarterback Luke Doty.
Returning to the program were three players with a combined five catches. Somehow, the Seahawks were able to reload on the outside and have all new targets hauling in passes from Doty, a South Carolina commitment.
“It’s been great to see our young guys step up from the junior varsity program and continue to get better throughout the summer and our 7-on-7’s,” Wilson said. “They’ve still got a long way to go, we’re still nowhere close to where we can be…”
Moving to the starting positions to replace the production of guys like Chunk Grissett, Da’Ron Finkley, Wyatt Roach and Jermani Green are new names and new Seahawks.
This year, home grown Adam Randall is leading the team in receiving, with an import from the hardwood Seahawks, Darius Hough, nipping at his heels. Jaylen Sparkman and J.J. Jones have each made an impact on the passing game and starting running back Rayshad Feaster looks to replace the production of Green from last season.
“We just reload,” Doty said of his new receiving corps. “It definitely took some work at first, just to get the timing, but once we got that it just took off from there. Just going out every day and working on small things, working on routes and releases to get that timing down with them. They are pretty new to the system, so it was big for us to go out and get the work.”
A season ago, Doty was a brand new starter looking to make his mark with an experienced offense around him. This season, he’s the leader and has worked to make his top three targets comfortable in a complex Seahawks offense. Randall came up through the junior varsity ranks and knows the offense, but is inexperienced and is now dealing with an injury to his right arm.
Hough and Jones are both new to the Seahawk football program, with the latter transferring from Socastee over the summer. Doty’s extra work has helped to get all of the players up to speed quickly.
“Every Saturday (and) Sunday we get together to throw around. We want to get our assignments right with Luke,” Jones said. “Being able to play with Luke is great, he’s an Elite 11 quarterback which is a [plus] and I’ve got with two more 6-foot-3 receivers. It’s hard to guard all three of us. If you lock one us down, we’ve got two more that can shine. We’ve got so many weapons with three good receivers and two great running backs coming in.”
Getting the offense prepared for a tough region slate of games has been one of Wilson’s concerns, but he’s been able to rely on his quarterback to function as a coach on the field.
“The neat thing about Luke is last year he really got better as the season went along. The experience from game to game and week to week made him a lot better,” Wilson said. “This summer he really has come into his own, he’s kind of mastered our offense and has done a great job of being a guy who has come in really sharp. That will continue as he gets comfortable with these new receivers.”
For Doty, looking around at his weapons, he sees a trio of large targets, with Randall, Jones, and Hough all listed at 6-foot-2 or taller. Randall, just a sophomore, and Jones, a junior, are both picking up steam on the recruiting trail. Randall boasts offers from South Carolina State and Coastal Carolina, while Jones has a West Virginia offer in his pocket.
“Just going out and making sure everybody is comfortable in the system and knows what they’re doing is my job out there as the field general,” Doty said. “Just making sure they’re all on the same page and are in control of what they’re doing. We’ve come a long way, I’m really proud of these guys. (They’re all) great athletes with a crazy catch radius, so put the ball wherever and know that they’ll go get it.”
The Seahawks will face another tough test from Class 5A this week, as Conway comes to Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium for the Battle for the Victory Bell. The rivalry game was wiped out last season due to Hurricane Florence, so Myrtle Beach has held the bell since 2017’s 13-12 victory.
Aynor at St. James
Carolina Forest at Loris
Conway at Myrtle Beach
Green Sea Floyds at McBee
Georgetown at Socastee
St. John’s at Waccamaw