Myr­tle Beach de­fen­sive end J.B. Fa­vorite has had big im­pact in play­offs

The Sun News - - Front Page - BY T.J. LUNDEEN

If Myr­tle Beach’s foot­ball sea­son were a fairy tale, it would be en­ter­ing the cas­tle to res­cue the princess, with just a dragon to slay be­tween the Sea­hawks and their ul­ti­mate goal.

But this dragon is quite a beast.

Class 4A Lower State cham­pion Myr­tle Beach (11-1) will take on Up­per State champ Greer (13-1) at 1 p.m. on Fri­day at Wil­liams-Brice Sta­dium in Columbia. The Sea­hawks are seek­ing their eighth state ti­tle in their 11th cham­pi­onship ap­pear­ance.

The last time they took home a tro­phy was 2013, when they won the Class 3A crown.

Greer comes in with a 15-year gap be­tween cham­pi­onship game ap­pear­ances, hav­ing won state three times in pro­gram his­tory.

Lead­ing the charge for the Yel­low Jack­ets, who are on a 13-game win­ning streak, is Shrine Bowl run­ning back Ta’Meric Wil­liams. The speed­ster has com­piled 2,087 yards and 19 touch­downs rush­ing on the year, av­er­ag­ing 160-plus yards per game this year.

“The run­ning back is their best of­fen­sive player and he’s our main fo­cus,” said Myr­tle Beach line­backer Salim Ses­sions. “They run out of the spread, so it’s some­thing we’ve seen be­fore but he is a dif­fer­ent kind of player. He’s elu­sive and quick. We’ve got to rally to the ball to bring him down.”

Ses­sions and the de­fense have their work cut out for them, but have worked to be­come more of a unit over the past few weeks in the play­offs, where they’ve beaten Dre­her, Marl­boro County, North Myr­tle Beach, and Hartsville all by dou­ble dig­its.

“As a de­fense, we all have to do our as­sign­ments. Up front, those guys need to eat up block­ers so lineback­ers can flow through and clean up plays, the sec­ondary needs to be there to stop those pass­ing at­tempts and be the last line of de­fense when the back gets loose,” he said. “If ev­ery­body doesn’t do their job, we lose.”

Myr­tle Beach coach Mickey Wil­son has con­cerns about the Greer at­tack, but also sees the Yel­low Jacket de­fen­sive line as an is­sue for his squad to con­tend with. It is led by an­other Shrine Bowler in Quan­tavi­ous “Quack” Co­hen at nose tackle.

Greer has won all but one play­off game by dou­ble dig­its, grind­ing out a 6-3 win over Ridge View in the third round.

“The big­gest thing is that they’re big and ag­gres­sive. They are a very phys­i­cal foot­ball team, so we’ve got to do as good of a job as we can block­ing them up front,” Wil­son said. “It’s a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal; their (de­fen­sive line) is re­ally long and ath­letic. That sticks out more than any­thing else that they have in­cred­i­ble length, ath­leti­cism, and speed on the de­fense. We’re go­ing to do a lot of dif­fer­ent things on of­fense, but we’ll have to take what they give us some­times.”

The weapons of the Myr­tle Beach of­fense were on full dis­play against Hartsville last week, when quar­ter­back Luke Doty ran and threw ef­fec­tively, ac­count­ing for seven touch­downs while mix­ing in Jer­mani Green on the ground.

“I have never seen a de­fen­sive line that big or that good in high school. They’re go­ing to be a big chal­lenge,” Green said after watch­ing game film on Greer. “This week, we’ve tried to make sure we’re fo­cused on the task in front of us. Yeah, we beat Hartsville and that was big, but that doesn’t mean any­thing this week. They are here for a rea­son and we can’t think that we won any­thing last week. Our goal is still in front of us.”

PHO­TOS BY JOSH BELL [email protected]­sun­

Myr­tle Beach Sea­hawks ju­nior quar­ter­back Luke Doty warms up be­fore the start of prac­tice Wed­nes­day at Doug Shaw Me­mo­rial Sta­dium. The Sea­hawks will travel to Columbia on Fri­day to face Greer for the 4a state cham­pi­onship.

Myr­tle Beach head coach Mickey Wil­son talks to his team be­fore the start of prac­tice Wed­nes­day.

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