May River might have been the best two-win team in the state last season – and one of the most improved – but the Sharks hope to see their progress make more of an impact in the win column as they enter their third year of existence.
While the Sharks’ win total remained the same from year 1 to year 2, they were outscored 507-75 in their inaugural campaign compared to 210-196 last year, when seven of their eight losses came by 10 points or fewer, including a 12-10 defeat to Timberland in the Class 3A playoffs.
“We should take a bigger step than we took last year,” sophomore quarterback Ahmad Green said. “We already showed teams we can compete. We just need to finish games and win.”
It might take a while for the wins to come, as May River faces a tough early-season schedule that opens with reigning GISA 2A champion Memorial Day and includes three games against Class 4A opponents and another against a strong Class 2A foe in Whale Branch.
Despite boasting only four wins in two seasons, though, the Sharks have high expectations this year, talking about region titles – and maybe even more.
“They’re confident,” coach Rodney Summers said. “We want them to have some confidence. I think last year helped with us being close, but obviously that’s not where we want to finish. We want to finish games. We want to leave no doubt this year. We don’t want to walk off the field wondering, ‘what if?’ ”
The Sharks return eight starters on each side of the ball, including most of their offensive line and a dynamic dual-threat quarterback in Green, who accounted for almost 1,700 total yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman. He has a new backfield mate in junior Brandon Morales, who takes over for Cam Adams after splitting time between JV and varsity a year ago, and the passing game should be improved.
The defense should be stout against the run, while the secondary has some room for growth but should be able to hold up in a run-heavy region.
Summers saw his former team, Westwood, make big strides in year 3, and he hopes for a repeat at May River.
“I expect us to go out there and win some games we’re maybe not supposed to win,” Summers said. “We’ve got to go out and keep competing like we did last year, but hopefully we can finish them.”
MAY RIVER SHARKS FOOTBALL
Coach: Rodney Summers
Record at MRHS: 4-17 (3rd season)
2017 record: 2-8 overall, 1-3 region, lost to Timberland in first round of Class 3A playoffs
Returning starters: 8 offense, 8 defense
Offensive scheme: Pro Spread
Defensive scheme: Multiple 3-4
Top returners: QB Ahmad Green, ATH Terry Fields, OL Gabe Long, WR Melvin Livermon, DL Rod Grant, OLB Ridge Dowe, CB Jayden Void
Notable losses: RB Cam Adams, DL Hunter Brophy, SS Mason Krout
Breakout candidates: DL Mike Ludwig, RB Brandon Morales, OL Kailin Prescott-Ferguson, DL TJ Polite-Grant
PLAYER TO WATCH
Melvin Livermon, WR: Livermon is still learning how to be a dominant wide receiver, but there’s no doubt he can fly. One of the fastest sprinters in the county, he was responsible for his share of highlights last season, and he’s only going to get better. Look for the Sharks to find creative ways to put the ball in his hands and let him show off his speed.
Can quarterback Ahmad Green stay healthy? The danger of a dual-threat quarterback is that he tends to take a lot of hits, and the Sharks saw that last season. Green is a game-changer when he’s on the field, but if he gets banged up it changes May River’s offensive dynamic dramatically.
REGION AND BEYOND
Virtually any team could emerge as the Region 7-3A champion, and the Sharks have as much reason as any other team to believe it will be them. They’ll be tested by tough early-season matchups but could easily start 2-0 in region play and set themselves up for a potential region-title showdown with Wade Hampton in the final week of the regular season.
8/17 — vs. Memorial Day
8/24 — at Bluffton
8/31 — vs. Whale Branch
9/7 — at Hilton Head High
9/14 — at Colleton County
9/21 — Open
9/28 — vs. Lake Marion*
10/5 — at Ridgeland-Hardeeville*
10/12 — vs. Beaufort High
10/19 — vs. Battery Creek*
10/26 — at Wade Hampton*
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