A few days after Myrtle Beach added an eighth state championship to its trophy case, Mickey Wilson tried to focus on what it would take to get No. 9.

Weeks and months went by, and consistent reminders sucked players back into celebration mode. Trips to the state house and parades and simply daily interactions made it tougher to move on to this season.

Maybe, all it was really going to take was a small bit of chance.

Five days before the opening of spring drills, Wilson found the perfect bookend moment to allow everyone the proper moment to start the next storyline. His players and coaches received their championship bling.

“It was neat when we got our rings,” Wilson said of the timing. “We kind of lucked out with that.”

Since that day, April 26 to be exact, the conversation has been more focused on 2019 than the team’s most recent triumph in Columbia. 

“We really don’t talk about it often,” senior Xayvion Knox said. “We want one this year, so that’s out of the picture.”

An oddity of sorts rarely seen in Horry County outside of this program has helped concentration levels. Although the Seahawks will have more than 20 seniors on the final roster (some tweaks are expected before the team’s season opener Aug. 30 at Hanahan), many of them were in back-up roles a year ago.

Translation: it’s harder to daydream about last year when you’re not sure exactly who is going to be lining up at key spots.

If history has taught us anything about Myrtle Beach, though, it’s the fresh faces don’t necessarily mean there’s a lack of talent. There’s no more Jermani Green at running back, but Rayshad Feaster and Jaylen Sparkman could team up to replace his 1,500 combined yards and 21 touchdowns.

Receivers Marcus Grissett, Da’Ron Finkley and Wyatt Roach graduated, but in steps Adam Randall, Ryan Burch, Darius Hough and J.J. Jones, a slew of players who have previous varsity experience elsewhere, NCAA Division-I offers or played key roles on a junior varsity squad.

Of course, they’re all wrapped around quarterback Luke Doty, the University of South Carolina verbal commitment who combined to pass and rush for 3,700 yards and 43 touchdowns as a junior before being named to the most prestigious high school quarterback camp in the country this spring.

On the other side of the ball, the difference will be replacing J.B. Favorite, Salim Sessions and Michael Brown. However, linebacker Shedrick Pointer (108 tackles, 12 tackles for loss) and back-seven mates T.J. Auston (31 tackles, three interceptions), Marcus Lugo (47 tackles, two interceptions, two forced fumbles) and Knox (54 tackles, three forced fumbles, two interceptions) are all back.

“If you look back at the 2018 season, you can take a lot of valuable lessons for our returners coming back,” Wilson said. “But at the same time, whether it was positive or negative, we have to put that state championship season to bed.”

Said Knox: “It was a fun experience. I had never been to a state championship. Now, it’s about coming in every morning and working hard. I want another ring.”

 

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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