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West Florence must regroup quickly with Myrtle Beach looming
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West Florence must regroup quickly with Myrtle Beach looming

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Hartsville Red Foxes vs. the West Florence Knights

Quantrell Pickens (13) and the rest of the West Florence Knights will look to rebound from their first loss of the season on Friday when they take on Myrtle Beach at Knight Stadium.

FLORENCE, S.C. – The high school football season leaves very little time to revel in a win or wallow in a loss, and that’s even more true in a region like 6-4A.

West Florence suffered its first loss of the year last week at Hartsville, but the Knights have to regroup quickly because their opponent is perennial 4A state title contender Myrtle Beach.

The Seahawks (2-1, 1-0) will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Knight Stadium for a game against West Florence (4-1, 1-1) that probably will have a far-reaching impact in the region standings.

Myrtle Beach was the second-ranked team in 4A in the latest statewide media poll last week while the Knights were in the top 10 as well.

“When you play Hartsville and Myrtle Beach back-to-back, you kind of find out what this region is all about,” West Florence coach Jody Jenerette said. “I thought we gave great effort at times last week – the score doesn’t really look it, but the touchdown they had right before halftime really set a tone for the second half.

“And now we’ve got another buzz saw coming to our place in Myrtle Beach, but I’ve said all year, I love this team and I’m excited to see what they’re going to do Friday night.”

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The Seahawks probably will be a different kind of challenge for the Knights. Hartsville relied on its ground game to great success as J’Shawn Anderson and Carmello McDaniel combined to rush for more than 300 yards against West Florence.

Myrtle Beach High School is more balanced on offense, but the passing game has been the calling card under coach Mickey Wilson, and the same is true this year. The Seahawks are averaging 45.7 points per game.

Ryan Burger, a quarterback who is committed to Appalachian State, leads the offensive attack and has Clemson WR commit Adam Randall on the outside. Fellow receivers Jon Simmons and Jake Doty have stepped up in recent weeks as well, and running backs Malachi Washington and Cam Ward provide plenty for Jenerette and his staff to worry about.

“They’re going to spread you out and stretch you at every level of the field,” Jenerette said. “They’re really good at what they do. They’ve got a big-time receiver and a big-time quarterback. He’s scrambled a lot more this year, and he’s been making teams want to come up, which is opening up windows behind them. ...

“But everything revolves around (Randall). We’ve got to make sure we keep everything in front of us defensively and make sure they don’t get behind us.”

Offensively, Jenerette is looking for his team to regain more of its physicality at the point of attack. Running back Terry McKithen was held to less than 100 yards and no touchdowns last week. The Knights did not score outside of two TDs in the second quarter.

“We’ve got to do a lot better up front,” the West Florence coach said. “I didn’t do a very good job of coaching last week. ... We’ve got to do a better job in practice and coaching, and we’ve got to go back to the drawing board a little bit. That’s what we’re going to do, and we’re going to play with great pad level and get off the ball a little bit better than we did last week.”

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