Mickey Wilson was looking for the complete game, a sign that his team wasn’t just flash and had some serious substance.
The Myrtle Beach coach finally saw it. And so did everyone else.
The Seahawks started fast against Hartsville and never took their foot off the gas, running away with a 47-14 victory in a crucial Region VI-4A game.
The offense played well. The defense was better.
“We come out to play — every down, every play,” defensive end Tre Phillips said. “We’ve got a good defense overall. I’m not surprised. We came out to play.”
He may have been one of the only ones.
Hartsville came into Week 7 averaging 38 points per game and had beaten its first two region opponents — North Myrtle Beach and West Florence — by 20-plus points each. The seven points the Red Foxes scored Friday was three touchdowns fewer than their next lowest output.
The Seahawks recorded three sacks, one each from Tre Phillips, Dalton Epps and Shamir Harrison. And the team as a whole tackled extremely well.
It prevented Hartsville tailbacks J’Shawn Anderson and Carmello McDaniel from doing what they have to everyone else all season. Those two players had racked up 1,200 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns in their first five games.
The most impressive part, maybe, is that Myrtle Beach did it all without linebacker and leading tackler Cam Ward, who injured his right shoulder last week and will miss at least a few weeks. Senior TyRyon Bryant stepped into Ward’s spot at outside linebacker, and between him and everyone else, it all looked easy.
“I thought was did a great job tackling,” Wilson said. “[Anderson and McDaniel] are so dynamic with the ball in their hands. We talked all week about ‘We gotta tackle. We gotta tackle.’ We end up in a lot of situations one-on-one where we had to make a tackle and did a great job of that.”
Anderson had an 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and McDaniel added one from 10 yards out to cap the scoring in the game. But together they combined for a relatively low 107 yards, 133 below their combined average this season.
Instead, it was Myrtle Beach running back Malachi Washington putting himself on the map with his own big night. The sophomore finished with 25 carries for 160 yards and two touchdowns rushing and another four receptions for 47 yards.
It was his second 100-yard rushing game of his career and his first 200-yard total yardage game.
Considering receiver Adam Randall (84 receiving yards, 75 rushing yards, rushing touchdown) and quarterback Ryan Burger (221 passing yards, 55 rushing yards, two total touchdowns) also had big nights, it was easy to see why the Seahawks stayed in a first-place tie with South Florence atop the region standings. Those two squads won’t meet for another two weeks in what will be another high-profile Region VI-4A game.
After Friday, though, it certainly appeared that Myrtle Beach was primed to stay right where it is. All it could do was nitpick getting stopped on fourth-and-goal from the 1 on its opening series and getting another would-be Randall touchdown called back from a penalty.
Everything else? It was complete.
“We left some points off the board early on, which I was a little disappointed in,” Wilson said. “But we were able to come back in the second half and stick it in the end zone.”