Wando rolls defending champion Myrtle Beach in preseason opener

  • Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Senior running back Kenny Waring ran well against Myrtle Beach in Wando’s first preseason scrimmage Tuesday in Mount Pleasant. FRANKIE MANSFIELD

Wando opened preseason play with a 41-27 win over defending AAA champion Myrtle Beach in a three-quarter scrimmage Tuesday in Mount Pleasant.

Defensive miscues in the secondary dropped the Warriors into a 20-7 hole just eight minutes into the first quarter. Myrtle Beach quarterback Drayton Arnold came out firing, quickly moving the Seahawks down the field for touchdown strikes of 35, 12 and 52 yards.

The Warriors’ offense matched the rapid pace, answering Myrtle Beach’s second score with a 12-yard touchdown run by Kevin Brown just a minute later.

Wando scored on consecutive possessions to start the second quarter as Bailey Hart and safety Darius Wade hooked up for a 2-yard touchdown and Ryan Williams blasted through a defender at the goal line for a 2-yard score to give the Warriors a 21-20 lead.

“We stopped ourselves a few times, but overall I thought we responded quite well tonight,” Wando head coach Jimmy Noonan said. “I was very pleased with the way we moved the ball. We figured some things out. You can’t replace the reps you get under the lights.”

Wando rode senior running back Kenny Waring down the field on both drives. Waring looked quick and elusive, as expected, but his power stood out as well. The 185-pound back regularly lowered his shoulder into defenders and initiated contact to pick up extra yards.

After Myrtle Beach’s early scoring barrage, Wando held the Seahawks scoreless for the next 22 minutes, almost two quarters of play, with tighter coverage in the secondary and increased pressure. Wando became visibly more confident on defense with a fourth-down stand at their own 31-yard line, followed by an interception by Wade on the following Seahawks drive.

“The kids were flying around,” Noonan said. “I thought our pursuit was strong. We had some busts early, but we’ve got some guys back there who’ve never played before. They’ve never seen it live at actual game speed. They’ll grow and they’ll learn and I think we saw some of that tonight.”

Hart showed a considerable amount of mobility Tuesday, extending drives and escaping pressure with his feet. On the final drive of the first half, he converted on third-and-10 with a 15-yard run. Williams later converted on fourth-and-1 to move the Warriors to the goal line where Hart found Jacques for a 1-yard touchdown on the final play of the half.

Wando looked to involve Jacques more in the offense. After catching eight passes all of last season, the 6-foot-6 tight end reeled in three catches Tuesday. Hart and Jacques connected on a 30-yard score less than two minutes into the second half to open a 34-20 Warriors lead.

Myrtle Beach broke the scoring drought with a 12-yard touchdown pass more than six minutes into the third quarter. Sophomore running back Oliver Michaud and the Warriors’ second unit countered with a 5-yard touchdown run before lightning ended the scrimmage with two minutes to play in the third.

“We needed to know where we were and I think we figured some things out tonight,” Noonan said. “Myrtle Beach is a very quality team and I’m happy with the way our kids responded to the test. Now we go back, take a hard look at ourselves, try to iron out the mistakes and work to improve our consistency.”

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