Local football fans are getting their wish of more high school football games at Coastal Carolina.
Well, at least to a degree.
The university and the organizers of the CNB Kickoff Classic have agreed to move the annual preseason scrimmages to Brooks Stadium, beginning this August.
“This is a great opportunity for us to showcase the expanded Brooks Stadium and our campus to future college students from our area,” CCU Athletics Director Matt Hogue said Monday night. “Fortunately for us, the timing and schedule worked well and it will also provide us as a tune-up for managing our new stadium prior to our season.”
Brooks is currently undergoing major renovations to allow for increased seating in conjunction with the Chanticleers’ move to the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision. And among its first visitors for an event will be those of the high school football variety.
The Kickoff Classic, which is held the Friday before the open week of games (Aug. 16, this year), will be celebrating its 30th anniversary. This won’t be the first time the CNB has been played on the CCU campus, as the old Coastal Carolina Stadium once hosted the event. However, the event eventually shifted to a rotating schedule between Myrtle Beach High School and Conway High School.
The event was cancelled in 2013 and 2017 due to inclement weather. Other than those two years, though, the Classic has served as the unofficial start to the high school football season in Horry County since 1990. The 10-team field includes the nine district programs along with nearby Waccamaw.
Now, they’ll be suiting up for their scrimmage at Coastal.
“It is great for our players to be able to play in such a nice college stadium,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “We certainly appreciate Coastal Carolina opening the door to high school football in our area.
“We really enjoyed having the Kickoff Classic at Doug Shaw, but also understand the unique experience this provides the county’s athletes as they [get to] play in a college atmosphere.”
Back in December, Hogue said he would be open to the idea of more high school games being played at Brooks. The school had agreed to a discounted fee for the stadium so that it could be used by Carolina Forest for a 2018 first-round playoff game against Lexington. Rains had caused damage to the Panthers’ on-campus stadium.
Then, after the flood-induced statewide delay, Brooks served as the host of the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl all-star game in December.
Coastal was lauded in working with Carolina Forest to execute the playoff game, and then the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association and the all-star game organizers to ensure that game could stay in the Myrtle Beach area.
“We at CCU believe in a commitment to our community, and what better way to demonstrate that than by helping spotlight area youth with an event that has become an annual tradition?” Hogue said. “And to be part of the 30th anniversary Classic will be special.”