Carolina Forest awaits Cobras in opener

Jackson Presley

Cane Bay punter Jackson Presley prepares to boot one away in a game against Fort Dorchester this season.

It’s not a stretch to suggest the Cane Bay Cobras literally limped to the finish line in their regular season football slate.

The Cobras, beat up by injuries, ended up 5-5 overall and 2-3 in Region 7-AAAAA after a 47-7 loss to Berkeley in Moncks Corner Friday. They were blanked 42-0 a week earlier by Wando and placed fourth in the region standings.

“Three more kids got banged up (against Berkeley),” Cane Bay coach Russell Zehr said. “It’s par for the course at this point. The ones we’ve got are coachable. We’re going up there and hoping to compete.”

The “up there” Zehr refers to is Carolina Forest High School in Myrtle Beach, home of the Region 6-AAAAA champion. The Panthers are 8-1 this fall and coasted through all of their region foes.

They knocked off Conway High School 42-13 Friday to wrap up their first region crown. The 29-point win was the closest region contest the Panthers played in.

Carolina Forest enters the playoffs outscoring opponents 47.5 to 12-2.

“Their quarterback is the real deal,” Zehr said of the Panthers’ Mason Garcia, “and their defense is big and physical. You don’t have their record by mistake. They haven’t had a whole lot of competition. We’re going to have to play the best football we’ve played in weeks to have a chance but it’s always nice to go somewhere you’ve never been before and see what happens.”

Cane Bay, which opened in 2008, has not encountered Carolina Forest on the gridiron before.

In the win against Conway, Garcia combined for over 200 total yards and scored on runs of 9, 1 and 15 yards. Panthers running back David Legette, who is nearing the 1,000-yard mark, reached paydirt from 12, 71 and 6 yards and has 21 touchdowns on the ground.

Garcia is nearing 1,700 yards passing with 14 touchdowns. Receivers Josh Murphy and Kyle Watkins have combined for close to 60 grabs for over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns.

The Cane Bay-Carolina Forest winner meets second-seeded River Bluff or third-seeded West Ashley in the second round.