COLUMBIA — As is often the case, losses provided motivation for both Greer and Myrtle Beach, who will play for the Class AAAA football state championship at 1 p.m. Friday at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Greer (13-1) reached the Upper State final for the first time in 14 years in 2017, but the Yellow Jackets saw their season end with a 67-21 loss to South Pointe.
“We’re probably one of the hardest-working teams through summer weights, spring practice and fall camp,” Greer senior offensive tackle Kyle Schneider said. “Through everything there was never somebody who just didn’t want to go.
“It was tough obviously, being hot and everything, but we were always there with each other working, remembering what happened last year and wanting to get further.”
The Jackets achieved that goal, defeating Daniel 35-23 in the Upper State final and advancing to the championship, also for the first time since 2003.
Myrtle Beach (11-1) had its key loss this season, a 70-34 defeat against Region 6 rival Hartsville, in its last regular-season game.
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“I think that was probably the best thing that ever happened to us this season, just getting smacked in the mouth,” said Myrtle Beach senior offensive tackle Evan Jumper. “It really humbled us.
“That next week at practice, it was like the season started all over again, and we just went back to the basics and really just grinded it out.”
The Seahawks’ Lower state playoff run culminated with a 52-31 victory over Hartsville.
Myrtle Beach, in the final for the fifth time in the last 11 years, won state titles in 2008, 2010 and 2013.
Greer has won at least 10 games seven times in the last 13 seasons but has been unable to meet its own lofty expectations.
“It’s kind of been the standard since we were little kids,” Greer senior safety Ethan Alexander said. “Coaches in Greer and the community in Greer know what it’s like to be in the state championship, and I feel like they kind of want that for us and for the high school.”
“It’s been a long time since Greer’s been in the state championship,” said Jackets coach Will Young. “We’ve been kind of knocking on the door a little bit the last decade and just hadn’t quite made it there yet. Our kids getting there’s a big deal for them and our community.”
Dre Williams 267-2,365-31
Matthew Huff 101-467-11
Huff 94-162-6 1,006 17
Cameron Martin 51-425-6
Miller DeArmond 34-334-5
Total tackles: Garrett Dill 180 (114 solo); tackles for loss: McZavion Holley 11; sacks: Holley 12; pass breakups: Ethan Alexander 12.
Jermani Green 166-1,126-19
Luke Doty 97-651-6
Doty 236-328-6 2,793 34
Marcus Grissett 64-903-11
Da’Ron Finkley 46-822-15
Total tackles: LB Michael Brown 103 (46 solo); tackles for loss: DL J.B. Favorite 26; sacks: Favorite 12.