The Socastee Braves return 12 starters on a team that went 1-7 last year in a storm-shortened 2018 season. Most of the returning players are on the offensive and defensive lines.
Doug Illing, who served as head coach at the school for six seasons, resigned back in April. Principal Jeremy Rich and Athletic Director Tim Renfrow asked veteran coach Marty Jacobs to come on as the interim head coach for the Braves this year.
“It was a great honor,” Jacobs said. “It was very exciting for me. This is my life.”
Marty Jacobs started his Horry County coaching career back in 1999 as coach of Aynor High School and has been a high school football coach for the last 35 years in various capacities.
“Three months ago, I was not coaching football,” Jacobs said.
“Three months ago I was going home every day at 3:30 in the afternoon then going to the gym and working out.”
Coach Jacobs said that the team’s record last season didn’t reflect how hard they played.
“Looking back in the cracks of last season, they had three or four ballgames that came right down to the last quarter,” Jacobs said.
“They had a very good chance to be successful. Sometimes the difference between wins and losses are one or 2 plays. We are trying to find those inches this year and close that gap. The kids are buying in and working hard.”
Socastee will have a little over 50 football players on the roster this season after having trouble with numbers in previous seasons.
About 20 of those players will be seniors.
“We can’t use the excuse of numbers,” Jacobs said. “Our numbers are up.”
Senior Darius Lewis will serve as the starting quarterback after serving as the backup last fall.
“I would like to say that we are state championship bound but right now we are trying to win some small battles daily in terms of getting them ready to play,” Jacobs said.
The Braves opened up on the road last Friday, losing to the West BrunswickTrojans 28-0.
Sloppy play plagued the first half as both teams saw three combined turnovers in the first quarter. The Trojans carried a 8-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Braves turned the ball over on all four possessions in the second half. Those turnovers set up three more West Brunswick touchdowns to secure the win.
Lewis was 5 for 10 on 59 yards passing and rushed for 20 yards on 7 attempts.Running back Preston Baker had 33 rushing yards on 7 attempts and 2 receptions for 22 yards.
Caid Byrd, Todd Leary and Donald Smolenski each had 3 tackles on the night to lead the defense. Jake Rogers came up with 2 interceptions.
The Braves offense had 4 turnovers and was limited to only 138 total yards and 9 first downs.
The West Brunswick Trojans had 260 total yards of offense, with quarterback Jay Fletcher leading the way with 2 rushing touchdowns.
The Braves now have a bye week to prepare before hosting Oceanside Collegiate Sept. 6.
8/23 HOME West Brunswick
9/6 HOME Oceanside Collegiate
9/13 HOME Myrtle Beach
9/20 AWAY NMB
9/27 HOME Georgetown
10/4 AWAY Carolina Forest
10/11 HOME Conway
10/18 AWAY West Florence
10/25 AWAY South Florence
11/1 HOME St. James