A couple have already been reached, and a large one is seemingly on the horizon. It has coaches from the western portion of the county to the Atlantic reflecting on their careers.
Leading the way is Green Sea Floyds’ Donnie Kiefer, who is fast approaching the 250 win plateau and appears to have a shot at it sometime in November, if all holds to plan.
“I just feel like I’ve been really blessed,” said Kiefer, who has been the head coach at 10 different schools dating back to 1986. “The one thing that most people don’t know is that I always went to schools that were down. That was kind of my niche my entire career, taking over programs that were down. I had opportunities to go to powerhouse schools. But to me, it was more rewarding to take over a program where nobody thought they could win.”
According to CarolinaPreps.com, Kiefer is 243-161-4 overall. He’s had just nine losing seasons (in 34 years) and has 10 seasons in which his team’s won at least 10 games, including last year’s Class 1A state championship season with the Trojans.
With his most recent program, Kiefer is 19-10 after last week’s loss at Aynor, leaving him behind only Rusty Holt (32 wins) and Doug Hinson (21) in the school’s all-time coaching record book.
Over at Carolina Forest, that top spot now belongs to Marc Morris, who won his 31st game Sept. 13 against Hoggard (N.C.). That victory pushed him beyond Drew Hummel, Morris’ predecessor, who was 30-57 in his eight seasons with the Panthers.
Combined with his two previous head coaching jobs, Morris is 127-53.
St. James’ Tommy Norwood, another longtime North Carolina coach now coaching in Horry County, hit the 225-win mark for his career in an Aug. 30 win over Hilton Head.
Myrtle Beach’s Mickey Wilson (110-26 in 10-plus seasons) is quite close to reaching the halfway point of the 223 victories that Doug Shaw recorded in his 25 years with the Seahawks.
North Myrtle Beach’s Matt Reel, who has yet to reach the halfway mark of his third season, is already the school’s third-winningest coach and is just one victory shy of the quarter-century mark. He is 24-5 head into the Chiefs’ region slate, as North Myrtle Beach is idle this week.
It means that week-by-week, some coach along the Grand Strand is going to be moving up some chart or another.
VICTORY BELL TIME
Say what you will for most of the area’s non-region football games, but there’s little denying that Conway-Myrtle Beach has an allure that has withstood the test of time.
And more importantly, the numbers around it tell us the game shouldn’t be as big of a deal.
See, while last week’s Myrtle Beach-Carolina Forest and Green Sea Floyds-Aynor games pitted undefeated teams, the Battle for the Victory Bell seems to actually ignore any sense of real logic. Take a few key facts into account:
- Since the series earned a nifty moniker and a trophy, Conway leads the match-up 33-15. However, Myrtle Beach has won nine of the last 11 meetings.
- Since Mickey Wilson took over at Myrtle Beach in 2009, the Seahawks have won four region championships and two state titles and have finished with no fewer than seven victories in a season. In that same span, Conway has had just four winning seasons. Still, six of the last nine games have been determined by a single score.
Much like the Seahawks’ trip to Carolina Forest last week, the Tigers’ visit to Doug Shaw this Friday will also be built up by the fact that last year’s game was lost due to the flooding associated with Hurricane Florence. The two schools attempted to use one of last winter’s basketball games for the right to the trophy, but it didn’t carry the same amount of weight in the public eye.
If nothing else, hoops was going to struggle to match some of the dynamic performances we’ve seen in this series.
The last time they met, in 2017, Seahawk quarterback Lawson Cribb led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives (including a scoring pass to current quarterback Luke Doty) in a 13-12 win. Myrtle Beach entered the 2011 game as the No. 25 team in the nation before Conway knocked them off with a 21-12 win.
And then there was 2012, which was just kind of bananas.
Conway jumped out to a 14-0 lead before Myrtle Beach quarterback Tyler Keane went off for 519 passing yards and a state record-tying eight touchdown passes. His Conway counterpart, Mykal Moody, rushed and threw for more than 150 yards each, but the Tigers’ last-minute two-point conversion failed and the Seahawks won 56-55.
The two teams will renew the series at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Doug Shaw. It will be aired on WWMB CW-21 in along the Grand Strand.
AROUND THE AREA
Horry County is down to three undefeated teams - Myrtle Beach, Aynor and North Myrtle Beach. They are among the last 35 squads in South Carolina with an unblemished record after last week’s games. … Speaking of Aynor, head coach Jason Allen is shattering the program’s best start for a head coach. Between a 3-0 start this fall and an 8-2 mark in 2018, Allen is head and shoulders above the next best coach’s first first 13 games. Every other Aynor coach dating back to at least 1969 (according to SCFootballHistory.com) had at least eight losses in their first 13 contests. … Myrtle Beach quarterback Luke Doty’s five touchdown passes against Carolina Forest last week gave him an even 50 for his career. He has accounted for 64 total touchdowns in his career when you factor in his rushing and receiving scores. … North Myrtle Beach, following its second shutout of the season (against Socastee last week) is now the No. 1 ranked defense in Class 4A in terms of points allowed per game. The Chiefs have allowed just 14 total points, an average of 3.5 per contest. … North Myrtle Beach starting quarterback Ramsey Lewis was held out of last week’s win over the Braves as a precaution for a minor injury. He is expected to play in the team’s Region VI-4A opener Oct. 4 at Marlboro County.