We have added the last two individual chapters to the Grand Strand’s 2014 football book.
With losses by Myrtle Beach and Loris on Friday night, every area team has been eliminated from the playoffs. The Seahawks and Lions - a pair of 11-win teams that were ranked among the state’s top 10 in their respective classes all season - ran into buzz saws in Marlboro County and Dillon.
Still, this fall was another memorable one.
Every Friday since Aug. 22, something was on the line. We saw great individual performances and teams exceeding expectations, witnessed players and coaches reaching major milestones.
Here are a few items that stand out:
* Braves prove doubters wrong: After Socastee lost three future NCAA Division-I athletes from its backfield of 2013, many questioned how far Doug Illing's team would fall during its first year back in Class AAAA. The Braves won seven games and made the playoffs.
* Another year, another 10+: Critics of Myrtle Beach football and all its pomp can't argue with the overall success the team has had. For six straight seasons under Mickey Wilson, the team has won at least 10 games. That includes 2014's 11-2 mark.
* Turning points: Georgetown and Waccamaw proved that perennial losing programs can win. The two developing programs were players in their respective region standings from the time that portion of the schedule began, and they were fun to watch along the way.
* Primed for the postseason: We saw glimpses of major progress in several teams this year that could pay off next year. The likes of Carolina Forest, Conway, St. James and Carvers Bay took turns making an impression, even if their overall records didn't amount to much this time around. All four of those teams return most of their key players, so don't be surprised if any or all of them are playoff bound next year.
In the coming weeks, we will finalize and release our Toast of the Coast football teams. We’ll also have the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl North vs. South Game on Dec. 13 (with plenty of coverage leading up to it) and keep track as more area players’ college commitments come to fruition.
Before you know it, we’ll be talking about the 2015 season. We'll have players rated by various recruiting services as some of the best in the state at their position and likely have at least a handful of teams expected to make some serious noise in the playoffs next November.