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Carolina Forest's Raquon Brown scores in the 28-43 loss to Myrtle Beach. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

For the majority of Horry County teams, the non-region games are in the rearview.

We had game cancellations and postponements, but still got a good body of work from each area football squad. We’ve had some surprises, others who have met expectations and a few who have hit some unexpected bumps.

Outside of Green Sea Floyds, which will play its first region game in two weeks, the other eight teams will start fighting for playoff spots and seeding on Friday. That makes now a good time to break down everything we’ve seen to date and release our mid-term reports.

CLASS 5A

Carolina Forest

Record: 3-1

Grade: B+

The report: Carolina Forest is 3-1, with only a closer-than-it-seemed loss to Myrtle Beach standing in the way of a perfect non-region schedule. And while the double-digit victory over Hoggard should carry some weight, the other two victories don’t tell us much because of the class differential and those teams’ standing. The Panthers should be beating those teams, and they did — which is priority No. 1. But there are a few holes that need to be plugged before we see how far this team can really go.

Conway

Record: 0-4
 
Grade: C-
 
The report: As region play commences, Carlton Terry’s team is one of the few in Class 5A that can say it has played opponents who were probably better than they’ll see from week to week. North Myrtle Beach, Hartsville and Myrtle Beach are all ranked in Class 4A, and Nation Ford is going to be playing for at least a couple weeks in the Class 5A playoffs. The 0-4 record looks bleak, sure, but a three-win region run isn’t completely out of the question.
 
St. James
Record: 3-2
 
Grade: C+
 
The report: The Sharks have been struggling for so long that this has to be considered the surprise team in Horry County heading into this week. At 3-2, St. James has as many wins in a single season as nine of the past 10 teams. There is remarkable improvement with many of the same players who were starting to show glimpses slightly less consistency. Barring a collapse in the second half of the season, Tommy Norwood’s team should be playoff bound come November.
 
Socastee
Record: 1-3
 
Grade: C-
 
The report: Prior to last week’s win against Georgetown, it was entirely possible that this season was going to end end even worse than last year’s 1-7 campaign. However, the Braves took advantage of team from a lower division and gained some much-needed confidence. Will Socastee win another game this year? Maybe not. What we need to keep in mind is just how much change this team has seen in a short amount of time.
 
CLASS 4A
Myrtle Beach
 
Record: 4-0
 
Grade: A
 
The report: The Seahawks don’t have the best offense in the classification; nor do they have the best defense. However, they rank in the Top 10 in both categories and once again have a productive special teams. Add it all up and Myrtle Beach is the undisputed No. 1 team in Class 4A heading into October. Barring a rash of injuries, it will be favored in every game it plays throughout the rest of 2019.
 
North Myrtle Beach
Record: 4-0
 
Grade: A-
 
The report: In extending their non-region winning streak to 20 straight, the Chiefs have used a pretty solid formula so far this year. They create a lot of turnovers while not giving the ball away. In four wins, North Myrtle Beach has already built up a plus-eight turnover margin, and it would have been higher had it not been for a pair of fumbles. Quarterbacks Ramsey Lewis and Cameron Freeman have yet to throw an interception, meaning the offense is establishing a time of possession advantage week in and week out.
 
CLASS 3A
Aynor
 
Record: 4-0
 
Grade: B+
 
The report: It really isn’t realistic to think that Aynor’s high-powered offense can keep up these types of video game numbers throughout the year. Averaging 41 points per game, after all, is something that only the best of the best can pull off (defending Class 3A champ Chester averaged 36.8 ppg last year, for instance). Still, the Blue Jackets’ commitment to its scheme is showing more and more each year, and coach Jason Allen’s squad is very much in the running for a top-two finish in region play.

Loris

Record: 1-4
 
Grade: C-
 
The report: The Lions are graded on bit of a curve due to the brutal non-region schedule they have faced so far. However, if Jamie Snider’s team is going to make it count, it has to start producing at a better rate when it matters most. That won’t be easy, given that four of the teams in this region are ranked in the state’s Top 10 for Class 3A. Chances are, Snider is attempting to get his team to buy into a philosophy that is a bit more fine-tuned, as looking at the region slate as a whole could be overwhelming.
 
CLASS 1A

Green Sea Floyds

Record: 3-1

Grade: A-

The report: That one blemish on the win-loss record isn’t a deal breaker for the Trojans for two reasons. One, it came against a pretty darn good Aynor team. Second, there is only one undefeated team in all of Class 1A (Wagener-Salley), proof that small-class teams who frequently have to play up in non-region play are going to take some knocks. Until proven otherwise, Green Sea Floyd is still the best team in the lower state.

AROUND THE AREA

St. James’ region opener at South Florence was originally scheduled to be played Thursday at Florence Memorial Stadium, but it has been moved to Friday at South Florence High School. It is part of the initiative for the three Florence 1 School District teams, all of whom will play one game on their own campuses instead of at the shared-use venue. It will kick off at 7:30 p.m. … Aynor wrapped up non-region play by scoring touchdowns in 15 of the 16 quarters it played. It scored points in all four quarters against Waccamaw, Green Sea Floyds and St. James while putting up points in three of four quarters against East Clarendon. … This Friday will be just the second time all season in which all nine Horry County teams are in action on the same day. Thanks to a pair of Thursday games in coming weeks, it will happen again only one more time this season (Oct. 18).

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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I'm the editor of myhorrynews.com and the Carolina Forest Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Horry County, South Carolina. I cover county government, the justice system and agriculture. Know of a story that needs to be covered? Call me at 843-488-7236.

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