Only a few minutes into the first quarter of the Loris Lions’ game, the North Myrtle Beach Chiefs picked up some momentum and never let up. The Chiefs won 28-0.
The Lions were the first to take the ball after the Chiefs won the coin toss and deferred. But the Lions couldn’t capitalize and punted. The Chiefs couldn’t get started either, and punted back to Loris, putting them at their own 1-yard line. That’s when the Chiefs’ Billy Barlow recovered a fumble to give the North Myrtle their first score.
“We love having him, he’s been a big part of our success this year,” said Matt Reel, the Chiefs’ head coach.
From there, the Lions couldn’t capitalize on any of their drives while the Chiefs’ offense marched down the field several more times.
In the first half alone, the Chiefs scored four times, with all of their offensive points earned in the second quarter. The Lions didn’t score, despite gaining 156 yards on offense, just two yards less than the Chiefs’ 158 yards in the first half.
With 7:16 left in the second quarter, the Lions’ quarterback Gage Conner threw an interception to the Chief’s Nick Moss, who ran it 26 yards for a touchdown. Less than two minutes later, Ramsey Lewis scored again with a 24-yard run. And quarterback Cameron Freeman’s 49-yard pass to Zyer Belle finished out the Chiefs’ first half.
“Our biggest thing is just taking what’s there,” Reel said. “We want to run the football, we want to be a power-run team. They were mixing their fronts on us a lot … so we were having to account for that a little bit.”
But Reel said they were able to throw the ball to take advantage of the soft coverage outside.
“They wanted to take the run away from us so we threw the ball a little bit more,” the Chiefs’ coach said. “That’s going to be something we’re going to continue to have to do.”
The Lions didn’t have the same success, only crossing the 50-yard-line a couple of times, and they were hampered by a fumble and two interceptions. Conner showed some promise with the passing game, but several penalties hindered their success in the second half.
“I was really, really proud of our defense, they played extremely hard and made them earn it,” said Lions’ coach Jamie Snider. “They got put in some bad spots because of turnovers and things like that, and offensively, we’ve got to clean some stuff up to put some more points on the board, but it’s a building process.”
The Chiefs scored on two of those turnovers.
“We had I think three turnovers on offense,” Snider said. “You can’t do that. You lose possessions when you do that and you give them more possessions. Everything is a building block and I thought our defense made a huge improvement from week 1 to week 2. We’re working to be more consistent, and that’s what practice is for on Monday morning.”
But the teams both have an entire season to improve. This was Loris’ second loss coming of a close game against St. James, but Snider said his team has a great attitude and their success will depend on the players’ improvement.
As for Reel, his team was ranked No. 5 in the region before the Loris game. Despite the big win, Reel said his team needs to keep improving.
“The biggest thing we’ve got to do is keep getting better every week,” he said. “Our region, in my opinion, is as tough as anybody in the state. We’ve got to be at our best once we hit our regions schedule.”