Seahawks beat Aiken

Myrtle Beach defeated Aiken 68-0 on Friday. 

Beaufort has been ousted from the playoffs by a team playing currently in Region VI-4A in three of the last four seasons. Myrtle Beach did it last year and in 2017. Hartsville did it in 2019.

Needless to say, Eagles coach Bryce Lybrand knows what he’s up against with another postseason game against the Seahawks.

“You’re going to have to beat someone from that region,” said Lybrand, who is in his third year as Beaufort’s head coach and fourth season with the program overall. “But I don’t think it’s some huge mountain that we’ve created for ourselves. We’ve played some pretty good football teams this year. Myrtle Beach is going to rank at the top of that [list].”

Beaufort, in fact, is the only team among the four remaining Class 4A lower state teams not from Region VI-4A. However, the Eagles have already dispatched one team, South Florence, from the division. Lybrand’s bunch defeated South Florence 30-14 in the opening round before taking down North Augusta last week.

As he said, though, Myrtle Beach is on a different level than either of those two. The Region VI champs have only one loss this year (to Class 5A lower state semifinalist Fort Dorchester), have rattled off seven straight victories since then and won five of them by four touchdowns or more.

Naturally, many are looking toward the two teams’ 2020 playoff game (a 49-37 Seahawk win). But neither Lybrand nor Myrtle Beach coach Mickey Wilson are putting much stock in that film.

This week’s rematch will likely be different from a year ago. In that game, Beaufort ran for 324 yards — including 121 from quarterback Tyler Haley and another 70 from Amarie Morris, two players leading the charge again this year. Myrtle Beach ran for 225, with Andrew Doss’ 199 yards and four touchdowns being the biggest deciding factor.

“This is a testament to their coaching staff. They’re smart enough to know that if you give them something, they’re going to take it,” Lybrand said. “We gave them the run last year. They took it and ran with it and scored a lot of points doing it.”

There’s reason to believe that type of output probably won’t happen on the ground this time around. Both defenses are vastly improved against the run

North Augusta was able to muster only 72 rushing yards. South Florence topped out at 111. Bluffton had 70. James Island finished with 102. Throughout the year, teams have averaged a paltry 115.

The reason is pretty clear.

The Eagles’ defensive line.

Ends Jack Sumner and Aaron Lamb and tackles Eamon Smalls (a junior with three NCAA Division-I offers) and Alvin Wilson (a Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Bowl selection) are “large humans,” as Lybrand put it. They average in the neighborhood of 6-foot-3 and 295 pounds.

And Myrtle Beach knows they’re better than they were a year ago.

“You’ve always got to look for those guys,” Wilson said. “No matter what you do, you’re going to be in a situation where the front is going to determine a lot of what’s going on, and, a lot of times, the outcome.”

LAST TEAM STANDING, AGAIN

That Myrtle Beach is the final Horry County team playing isn’t uncommon.

In fact, the Seahawks are carrying the district’s flag deeper into the playoffs than anyone else more often than not.

This is the eighth time in Mickey Wilson’s 13 seasons as head coach that Myrtle Beach is in that position. This fall, St. James missed the playoffs, Carolina Forest, Conway, Socastee and Loris lost first-round games and then North Myrtle Beach, Aynor and Green Sea Floyds followed suit in last week’s second-round contests.

The overall tallies include the 2009, 2010, 2013, 2018 and 2019 squads that played for state championships (matched by Green Sea Floyds in 2018 and 2019). Additionally, Myrtle Beach outlasted the rest of the bunch in 2011, when it reached the third round, and 2014, when both the Seahawks and Loris reached the third round.

This year, it’s the Seahawks all by their lonesome.

MILESTONE WATCH

Myrtle Beach’s two best players could reach some impressive career marks with even moderately decent games on Friday against Beaufort.

Seahawks quarterback Ryan Burger — who surpassed 6,000 total yards (passing and rushing) in last week’s win over Aiken — needs 268 yards passing to reach the 6,000-yard mark in that category alone. He’s also one touchdown away from 70 for his career (66 passing, three rushing).

Meanwhile, receiver Adam Randall is two receiving touchdowns shy of 30 for his career. He has piled up exactly 2,600 receiving yards in three seasons. Randall also has 336 rushing yards and six touchdowns in his career, mostly out of the team’s heavy-set Rhino package.

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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