On paper, Friday night’s contest between the 5-1 North Myrtle Beach Chiefs and the 0-7 Darlington Falcons should not have been close. But the Falcons proved why the games are played on the field and not on paper, knocking off the regional foe Chiefs 10-9.
In their first six games, North Myrtle Beach notched at least 21 points a game, but Friday night the Chief offense couldn’t get on track at Darlington. It did look like the Chiefs were going to continue their scoring spree as they drove down the field on their first possession to take a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game. But that was all the scoring the North Myrtle Beach offense could muster for the night.
Neither team could get much going the rest of the first half with the Chiefs taking that 7-0 lead into halftime. North Myrtle Beach got close late in the first quarter, coming up less than a yard short on fourth down inside the Falcons’ 20.
After holding the Chiefs to a three-and-out on their opening possession to start the second half, the Falcons took to the air and marched down the field for a score to tie the game at 7-7. Again, neither offense could get much going for the rest of the third quarter. The Chiefs made it to the Falcon red zone, but the Darlington defense came up big with an interception in the end zone.
The Chiefs’ defense gave its team new life, sacking the Darlington quarterback in the end zone for a safety on the first play of the fourth quarter and giving the lead back to North Myrtle.
But the Falcons methodically moved down the field, getting a field goal to take back the lead at 10-9 with just over four minutes left in the game. The Chiefs returned the ensuing kick back to their own 43. A personal foul penalty moved them back to their own 25 where they eventually turned the ball over on downs to the Falcons, who ran out the clock for their first win of the season.
North Myrtle Beach head coach Matt Reel said he was disappointed in his team’s performance against the previously winless Falcons.
“We were just not very good tonight,” Reel said. “We were not playing sound and didn’t do the little things we need to do to win games.”
Reel said too many times players were undisciplined and not focused, citing the penalties that put them in the hole late in the game.
He added that things are not going to get any easier as the Chiefs wrap up region play.
“We’ve got Hartsville next and then Myrtle Beach,” Reel said. “If we don’t start playing better, it’s going to be a rough two weeks.”