High School Football

Spring football begins with plenty of optimism, opportunity

Conway quarterback Peyton Derrick is one of several area gridiron talents returning for the 2016 football campaign. Spring football practice began around the state on Monday, with some local programs taking part.
Conway quarterback Peyton Derrick is one of several area gridiron talents returning for the 2016 football campaign. Spring football practice began around the state on Monday, with some local programs taking part. jlee@thesunnews.com

Some coaches love spring football.

Others hate it and only do it because everyone else does. Falling behind isn’t an option, especially now that the rules for the spring are significantly less stringent than they used to be.

The South Carolina High School League’s (SCHSL) relatively new offseason practice schedule allows teams to use as many available days this year between May 2-31 as they’d like for organized drills.

Schools can only use 10 days of that in full pads. But with those and the rest of the available dates, much can be discovered.

“I actually like it. I think it’s a great opportunity now that you have contact,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “You can see your young kids coming up from the junior varsity level. I think some people can get carried away with it. But it’s a great tool to see where you stand.”

The Seahawks are by no means the only area team with a need to start figuring that out over the course of the next four weeks.

Among The Sun News Toast of the Coast offensive and defensive selections from last fall, only eight of the 24 players were not seniors.

I actually like it. I think it’s a great opportunity now that you have contact. You can see your young kids coming up from the junior varsity level. I think some people can get carried away with it. But it’s a great tool to see where you stand.

Myrtle Beach football coach Mickey Wilson

Some of the noticeable losses are Conway receiver Bryan Edwards, Myrtle Beach running back Brandon Sinclair and quarterback Drayton Arnold, two-way St. James linemen Cole Gallagher and Aaron Foster, Loris defensive back and receiver Desmond Dozier and Georgetown’s Cavonte Gamble, consistently one of the most influential players on any team over the course of the last two years.

That doesn’t mean the Grand Strand will be devoid of talent.

Conway quarterback Peyton Derrick threw for a school record 2,650 yards last fall while piling up 30 touchdown passes. He won’t have Edwards as a target any longer, but the Tigers return four experienced receivers, any of whom could have a big year in 2016.

Carolina Forest returns 2,000-yard running back Dyverse Simmons; linebacker Zach Shear, who led the area in tackles per game last year, has another year at Socastee; and the Myrtle Beach defense will return eight starters, including linebacker Chase Brill.

As for how much each team will do in May varies from program to program. Schedules for every team were not immediately available. However, North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach started theirs Monday while others chose to wait.

Waccamaw will not begin until next week, and Green Sea-Floyds will not take the field until May 16.

Coaches can also decide whether to play a formal spring game, although the SCHSL stipulates that admission can not be charged.

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