Week 10 wrapped up the regular season for all of our area football teams, with seven squads playing on into the playoffs of their classifications. In Class 5A, Carolina Forest and Conway made the field, with St. James just missing out on an at-large berth. Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach will fill out the Class 4A bracket for the Grand Strand, with Aynor and Waccamaw securing spots in 3A. Green Sea Floyds was idle last week and will be off again this week, as it has secured a first-round bye in the Class A playoffs.
Mason Garcia has been on a warpath this season, playing up to his 4-star classification from 24/7 sports. The East Carolina University commit piloted Carolina Forest to its first region title, crushing Conway 42-13 in the Region 6-5A championship game on Friday.
“We’ve watched him grow since he was in ninth grade and watched him mature not only as a football player but as a young man and it showed tonight,” said Carolina Forest head coach Marc Morris. “He made some big plays, and he made some plays that weren’t very good tonight and he overcame them too. It’s just part of him maturing as a young man and getting better each and every day. He’s a great football player and our fans need to come out and watch somebody like him play because you don’t see kids with his talent all the time.”
While it didn’t pull off a region championship, Conway closed its season strong after a slow start and found its way to second place in a tough region. The Tigers will host a playoff game in The Backyard as Wando will come to town.
The bus carrying the Myrtle Beach football team pulled onto S.C. 9 heading for S.C. 31 north with a brand new football team in tow, one that hasn’t yet accomplished all of its goals on the season.
“We’re definitely excited to move from the regular season into the playoffs,” said quarterback Luke Doty after defeating North Myrtle Beach 35-14 on Friday. “So far, we’ve accomplished a few of our goals by winning our region and finishing off the first undefeated season in quite a while at Myrtle Beach. Those are great accomplishments, but they won’t mean nearly as much to us if we don’t play up to our ability in the playoffs.”
Myrtle Beach won Region 6-4A and will host Lakewood on Friday, while rival North Myrtle Beach will travel to North Augusta for its opening round contest. Should both teams win in the first round, they would face off at Doug Shaw Memorial Stadium on Nov. 15.
“Right now, we’re 0-0 and there are no rankings,” said North Myrtle Beach coach Matt Reel. “If we can have a good week of preparation and focus on the task in front of us, there’s a good chance we can see (Myrtle Beach) down the road very soon. (Tonight,) we’re in the football game in the fourth quarter with the No. 1 team in the state. If we can do that against our playoff opponent, there’s no telling what we can accomplish.”
Aynor has proven its model works this season, where the Blue Jackets pounded opponents to a pulp en route to its first region championship in 30 years. With an undefeated record to its name, Aynor will move deeper into the “championship phase” of its season, starting with a visit from Georgetown on Friday.
Waccamaw has used its strong offense to perfection this season. Unlike Aynor, the Warriors go to the air frequently and boast some of the area’s top performers in quarterback Denson Crisler and receiver Tyree Funnye. Making the playoffs as a No. 3 seed, Waccamaw will draw a tough opponent in Dillon, as the Wildcats have made deep playoff runs much of the past decade. If there’s a blueprint to beating Dillon, Aynor showed it during its 38-30 win just a few weeks ago.
Green Sea Floyds doesn’t mind sitting back and waiting for the bracket to come to them in the Class A playoffs. The Trojans sat idle in Week 10 of the regular season and earned a first-round bye in the playoffs, giving the team two weeks to relax and heal up from a long season.
“We took it as a positive, that we get a couple of weeks to heal up our guys that are a bit banged up, get a break from competition, and scout potential opponents that we could see down the road,” said Trojans’ coach Donnie Kiefer. “We also have a chance to install some new formations and plays that we haven’t put on film yet to add a few wrinkles as we move into the playoffs.”
Green Sea Floyds dropped just one game this year, to Aynor, and will look to defend its state championship from last season when they take the field on Nov. 15.
SCHSL Football Playoffs – Round 1
No. 4 Cane Bay at No. 1 Carolina Forest
No. 3 Wando at No. 2 Conway
No. 4 Lakewood at No. 1 Myrtle Beach
No. 4 North Myrtle Beach at No. 3 North Augusta
No. 4 Georgetown at No. 1 Aynor
No. 3 Waccamaw at No. 2 Dillon
Green Sea Floyds earned a first-round bye