The Myrtle Beach Seahawks scored early and often Friday night, although resistance from the North Myrtle Beach Chiefs kept the undefeated team’s total score from reaching the astronomical levels they achieved during some of their previous conquests.
The Seahawks won 35-14, but both teams are going to the playoffs.
“We played OK,” Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson said. “I felt like at times we blew some coverages, maybe had some lapses here and there, but overall, really good performance. Really proud of our guys.”
Myrtle Beach got its first score only a few minutes into the first quarter when the team capped an 80-yard drive with quarterback Luke Doty’s 35-yard touchdown pass to receiver Darius Hough. Xayvion Knox took a direct snap from the Chiefs' 35 yard-line to run in the ball for the Seahawks second score of the half, and Doty finished it off with his own 21-yard touchdown run.
“I feel like we took care of business tonight,” Doty said. “Obviously, we’ve got some things to work on going into the first round of playoffs, but I think we’ll be just fine.”
The Chiefs struggled for most of the game, held back by missed opportunities and penalties. But with less than a minute left in the second quarter, Ramsey Lewis threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Zyer Belle for the team’s first score of the night.
Friday was also Lewis’ first full game back since being injured several weeks ago. Lewis, who was named to the North-South All Star game for his running performance, has been filling the starting quarterback role this season.
Chiefs coach Matt Reel said the team was heavily affected by penalties, “especially early in the game. We were moving the football methodically, we get a personal foul, we get a holding call, now we’re second and 20, third and 15; when those guys pin their ears back and come, we had a hard time pass-blocking them. So it got us off-track and we weren’t able to manufacture things like we needed to.”
In the second half, the Seahawks’ Knox scored twice more, and the Chiefs added their second and final score with an 8-yard run by Malik Livingston.
“We played super hard tonight. We just didn’t make a couple plays we needed to,” Reel said. “We had some plays we left on the field that we didn’t make. If we make them, we’ve got a chance late and we just didn’t. You look up and it’s 35-14, it’s a 21-point game, but we dropped two touchdown passes. It comes down to – against really good teams – can you make every single play? We just didn’t make those plays.”
As far as the playoffs are concerned, it was already irrelevant if the Seahawks won or lost. The undefeated Myrtle Beach team that had scored 26 passing touchdowns and 19 rushing touchdowns prior to Friday’s game was already locked into the No. 1 seed for Region 6 Class 4A and is guaranteed a home team advantage for at least the first two rounds of playoffs. But Wilson said the team still needs to get better.
“Offensively, we’re a little banged up right now, so we’ve got to get healthy on that side of the ball, and defensively, just play mistake-free football,” he added.
As for North Myrtle, the once-powerful team that fell to Darlington and then Hartsville in the last two weeks, their fate depended on the outcome of Marlboro County and Darlington’s games. Both of those teams lost, meaning the Chiefs will still get a playoff spot, but they won’t have homefield advantage like the Seahawks.
“We’re waiting right now to find out where we’re going to be going,” Reel said. “So as soon as I know, we’ll get to work on them and get ready for Monday.”